Guide: How to work from home in SOLIDWORKS and PDM


It can be nice to have the opportunity to work from your home office every now and again. Sometimes you might have a need to focus and avoid distractions, and at other times you might need some flexibility in your everyday life. These days as the corona virus influences your work and private life it might be more appealing than ever to work from home – if not strictly necessary to do so. But how do you go about it with your SOLIDWORKS and PDM licenses? We have made a guide for you.

In this blog, we will take a look at the possibilities of working from home in SOLIDWORKS. There are several options to choose from. It all depends on your license type, whether or not you have a PDM system, and if you employer offers a VPN.

In the following examples, we will assume that you bring your office computer home with you. If you wish to work on a different computer at home, you will need to install the software on it. Of course, that is an option, but it won’t be elaborated on in this guide. If you need help in that regard, please contact our support. We’ll guide you.

Your 4 options for working from home in SOLIDWORKS are:

1. Get easy access with VPN
2. Borrow the files from shared drives
3. Use PDM without the license server
4. Borrow your floating license

Below you can easily assess which scenario is relevant for you – find the one that fits your situation and the options at your disposal.

Scenario 1 – Get easy access with VPN

This is the simplest solution if you have already setup VPN connection. If you are not sure, please check with your closest IT person/manager if your company has a VPN solution to be used. Take your office computer home with you, connect to VPN and keep working on your files just as if you were at the office. It requires no preparation and is easy and straightforward.

The best way to find out how to work with your company VPN is to ask your IT if you have one, how does it work and how to get it working.

Here is a small guide from Microsoft how to use a VPN:

Scenario 2 – Borrow files from the shared drives

Then we’ll take a look at a solution for those who have a standalone license – and no PDM system.

As you won’t be able to access the shared drives from home, you’ll need to prepare a little before leaving the office.

Copy all the files that you need to work on from home to the local drive on your computer and take it home with you. Now, you can work on the files locally.

When you return to the office, simply copy the files back onto the shared drives. You need to be careful not to overwrite the files that your colleague(s) might just have copied in from his or her computer if they are returning to the office as well.

Coordinate who makes changes to which files if you are several people working on the same project.

Scenario 3 – Use PDM without the license server

You have a standalone or a floating SOLIDWORKS license, and you have a PDM system. What do you do?

You have to use SOLIDWORKS PDM without connection to the license server. This means that you have to enable the Work Off-line function.

It requires a bit of preparation before you leave the office. Follow these 3 simple steps:

1. Complete a Get latest version action on the files you want to access offline. Right click on an assembly and include all elements.
2. Do a check-out of all the files you want write access to when you are offline.

3. Click Tools > Work Off-line. Be patient – it might take a little while to complete.

Folders are now blue and the files with a write permission will show a Yes in the column Writeable.

When you return to the office, you select Work On-line in the menu Tools and do a check-in of your files. Now you are ready to work as usual and you have reestablished the normal data management in PDM.

Scenario 4 – Borrow your floating license

If you have a floating license, then you need to prepare a little before you leave the office.

Note – if you have a PDM system, then start by following the steps in Scenario 3 before you move on to the following guide.

You also need to copy the files you wish to work on from home to the local drive on your computer – as in Scenario 2.

Finally, you need to enable Borrow SOLIDWORKS and eventual add-ins so you can work in SOLIDWORKS without connection to the license server.

Start SolidNetWork Licens Manager Client 20xx.


Navigate to the tab License Borrowing – and under Available product licenses you choose the licenses you wish to use from home.

Also be sure to select SOLIDWORKS Premium if you need to work with Routing. Or to select SOLIDWORKS Visualize if you need to do rendering.

Choose an end date for borrowing the license. After this date, the license will return automatically to the office. It is important to choose a realistic date. Otherwise, you will need to return to the office in order to extend the time period for borrowing the license.

Select Borrow> and then the chosen products will appear under Borrowed product licenses.

When you go back to your office and need to return the license, you start the SolidNetWork License Manager Client once again and go to the License Borrowing tab again.

This time you select the licenses on the right and press Return.

In need of assistance?

Do you need advice on how to work best from home or guidance preparing then contact us in support. You can call us and we will assist you.

Best regards,
Martin Jensen & Joakim Karlsson

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