ArchiCAD file and hardware protection compatibility

by Katalin Takács · updated: 03.25.2014

Read indicates which is the earliest file format that the program can read
Write indicates which is the oldest file format the program can write
Protection indicates the oldest Archicad version that runs with the protection
key supplied with the program

Version Read Write Protection
ArchiCAD16 8.1- 15 6.5r5-(WK) 10-(CM)7
ArchiCAD15 8.1- 14 6.5r5-(WK) 10-(CM)7
ArchiCAD14 8.1- 13 6.5r5-(WK) 10-(CM)7
ArchiCAD13 8.1- 12 6.5r5-(WK) 10-(CM)7
ArchiCAD 12 8.1- 11 6.5r5-
ArchiCAD 11 8- 10 6.5r5-
ArchiCAD10/IntelMac 6.5- 106 6.5r5-
ArchiCAD 10 6.5- 9- 6.5r5-
ArchiCAD 9 5.0- 6.0- 6.5r5-
ArchiCAD 8.1 5.0- 6.0- 6.5r5-
ArchiCAD 8 5.0- 6.0- 6.5r5-
ArchiCAD 7.0 4.1- 5.0- 6.0r5- 6.5r4-5
ArchiCAD 6.5 4.1- 5.0- 4.16-(Win)3 6-(Mac)4
ArchiCAD 6.0 4.1- 5.0- 4.16-(Win)3 5.1-(Mac)4
ArchiCAD 5.1 4.1- 5.0- 4.16-(Win)3 5.0-(Mac)4
ArchiCAD 5.0 4.1- 5.0 4.16-(Win)3 4.55-(Mac)4
ArchiCAD 4.55 (Win&Mac) 4.1- 4.55 4.16-(Win)3
ArchiCAD 4.5 (Mac only) 4.1(Mac)- 4.5 4.5
ArchiCAD 4.16 (Win only)2 4.16 4.16 4.1
ArchiCAD 4.12 (Mac only)1 1.x- 4.12 4.1
  • Versions earlier than 4.12 existed only on Mac. They could read file versions from 1.x- and could not write earlier file versions
  • 4.16 was the first Windows version. This could not read Macintosh files, but there was a converter tool that ran on Mac and converted Mac archive (PLA) files to windows format and 4.16 Windows files to Mac format.
  • From 4.16 till 6.5r4 on Windows platform the Sentinel protection key was used. The sentinel key could run earlier Archicad versions also protected by Sentinel. (e.g. a 6.5 key could run Archicad 4.16)
  • The Mac protection key (type Microguard for versions 5 and 5.1 and type Rainbow Sentinel for versions 6.0 and 6.5) was not backward-compatible,
    however the Archicad Install CD contained the previous ArchiCAD version recompiled to run with the new protection key
  • From ArchiCAD 7.0, WIBU protection key was used on both platforms. WIBU is platform-independent, the same key works on Windows and MAC.
    The ArchiCAD 7.0 CD contained a special version of Archicad 6.0 (r5/v5), Archicad 6.5 (r4/v4), which runs with WIBU key.
  • Since ArchiCAD 10 MacTel version is the first ArchiCAD on this platform, it can not save earlier file formats. More on this topic: MacTel » FAQ
  • CodeMeter protection key was introduced in ArchiCAD 13 as an alternative to WibuKey. CodeMeter keys can run ArchiCAD 10, 11 and 12 with the CodeMeter Enabler tool.

Converting old files

Archicad 7.0 – which runs on any platforms with any WIBU key – can open files from version 4.1. Older files have to be opened and saved with Archicad 4.12, then they can be opened with ArchiCAD 7.0.

INT and USA versions of ArchiCAD 10, ArchiCAD 9 and ArchiCAD 7 may be downloaded here. These special conversion versions are ready-to-run installations, and also include the libraries.

For Mac users, note that the programs are for PPC, not Intel. If you are using Snow Leopard, and do not have the Rosetta environment installed which allows running these older PPC programs, you will be prompted by Snow Leopard to install it. If you are running Leopard or Tiger, no extra action is required. Also note that while you can run ArchiCAD 9 by simply opening the disk image (dmg) file, ArchiCAD 7 will not run unless you copy the contents of the disk image onto your disk, such as into your Applications folder. These versions will run with a WIBU protection key only; they will not run with a Codemeter key. Even with a WIBU key, you may need to download the file WkMAC.LIB from here and install it as directed.


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