ARCHICAD license types

by GRAPHISOFT and Gábor Almási · updated: 05.18.2016

See also: GRAPHISOFT Technical Support site

Commercial License

Commercial versions are licensed using WibuKey or CodeMeter hardware or software protection. For full information on commercial license compatibility, see the Protection Key article.

{i} To purchase GRAPHISOFT products or for country specific information you can contact your country representative:

Types of commercial licenses


Full license

With a Full license you can use the fully functional GRAPHISOFT product with unlimited usage. You will be able to run older versions as well. (with some technical limitations for more details see: Protection Key)

Solo license

Solo licenses for Solo ARCHICAD versions are available in the UK, USA, Brasilia, South Korea, Hong Kong and in Japan. Solo version has the exact same functionality as the Full version except it doesn’t include TeamWork, Cinema 4D rendering engine and Hotlink/X-ref capabilities.

Pay-per-use license – PPU

Pay-per-use license type offers prepaid licenses for ARCHICAD, you can buy hours of ARCHICAD usage in advance. When you start ARCHICAD the counter starts and when you quit the program it stops to count. In Help menu/License information you can check the remaining number of hours.
/!\ Running multiple instances of ARCHICAD results faster time consumption e.g. if you have two ARCHICAD sessions running side-by-side then twice as much time will be used from the key. 
{i} Pay-per-use license option is not available on certain markets.

Rental license

With the rental option you can buy a license for a certain time period (1, 3, 6 months). Within the purchased time period you can use ARCHICAD without any limitation e.g. running multiple sessions all day. The usage of this starts when you first start ARCHICAD using a rental license – so not on the day when you purchase it. When starting up ARCHICAD you will be prompted with a dialog stating the remaining days of your license availability. You can also check the remaining days in Help menu/License information.

Demo Mode

ARCHICAD will launch in Demo mode if the hardware or software protection cannot be accessed or there is no free license available. Save, Copy, and TeamWork functions are disabled, but it is still possible to print.

Educational (EDU) License

Education version is a fully functional version that can be installed with a serial number.

The first step of registration gives you a personal temporary serial number and a download link. The process at this level is completely automatic, so you will receive your serial number and the link immediately after you register. This temporary serial number will give you 30-days usage.

After your registration your given credentials go through an approval stage, where GRAPHISOFT’s local representative sends you the final serial that will be valid for 1 year.  When the 1 year license expires you can renew it for free of charge.

  • File Format and Compatibility: EDU and commercial project files will have the same file format (.PLN), but EDU files have an irremovable logo at the top right corner. This logo will be present on all printouts. EDU project files can be opened with a commercial version of ARCHICAD, in which case ARCHICAD switches to EDU mode and the logo will be present. Commercial project files can be opened with an EDU version of ARCHICAD. In this case the logo is added, and cannot be removed later. Saving in the EDU version will prevent the file from opening in the Commercial mode. Besides ‘Open’, no other data exchange (copy, paste, merge, hotlink…) is allowed between EDU and commercial project files.

Trial License

A Trial License can be used to run a fully functional version for 30 days. The license works with a serial number that can be obtained with a simple registration.

  • Registration: A serial number can be obtained by registering at
  • File Format and Compatibility: Files written by the trial version are encrypted and can only be opened on the computer where they were created. After the 30 days period the save function is disabled, but it is still possible to print. The files can be converted to full files by purchasing a commercial license and opening with the protection key on the computer they were written.

{i} As Trial files can only be opened on the same machine where they were saved TeamWork functionality is available – but limited.

START Edition

ARCHICAD STAR(T) Edition is based on the industry leading Virtual Building technology of ARCHICAD but its feature set is tailored to the needs of small architectural practices. For details of the features in the current version see START Edition.


For BIMx license options see: BIMx/LicenseTypes

EcoDesigner STAR

EcoDesigner STAR is based on ARCHICAD’s built-in Energy Evaluation feature, but provides significantly extended capabilities and data settings.

In order to access these extended functions you must have ARCHICAD 17 build 5019 or newer and have an EcoDesigner STAR license key. Apart from inserting hardware protection key or downloading software protection key, no additional installation or download is necessary.

Please contact your GRAPHISOFT Partner for further product information and purchase details.

File compatibility between different License types

    License Validity     Save file?         Open file?          Teamwork       
Full      Indefinite Can save for current versions and back-save one version Any version Yes
Demo Indefinite No Open and view any ARCHICAD PLN file No
Trial 30 days Save as Trial version, on the same computer only Open Trial version file, on the same computer only Yes, for Teamwork projects shared in Trial version, on the same computer
EDU 1 year (renewable); 30 days without proof of student status Save as EDU version only: Permanent watermark appears on all output Open commercial file with EDU (watermark appears)
Open EDU file with commercial (watermark appears)
Yes, for Teamwork projects shared in EDU
Solo Indefinite Save as Solo version, can be opened with Solo and Full Open and view any ARCHICAD PLN file No. (Contains other feature limitations.)
Start Edition Indefinite Save as Start Edition version, can be opened with Start Edition and Full Open Start Edition version file No. (Contains other feature limitations.)

Related content


Double-click on the ArchiCAD icon in your program folder to start the program. The Start ArchiCAD dialog box appears. In the top section, “What would you like to do?”, choose either: Create a New Project or Open a Project Create a New Project Creates a

ARCHICAD Start Edition

ArchiCAD STAR(T) Edition (SE) is recommended for smaller architectural practices. Based on the industry leading Virtual Building technology of ArchiCAD, its features have been tailored to the needs of smaller architectural practices. ArchiCAD STAR(T)…

WibuKey software protection for GRAPHISOFT products

WibuKey features About the available protection systems About WibuKey software protection How to set up a WibuKey server How to manage users on the server side Troubleshooting Troubleshooting guide How to report errors Useful links ArchiCAD license…