How to request an Opticstudio license code

If Opticstudio requests a license code when you launch it, this details how to request one. It also covers common issues applying a license code and the software license support policy. This applies to those using Opticstudio with a black USB license key.

Authored By Don Dickinson


If you get a popup requesting a license code when launching OpticStudio or have any troubles after entering your code this article will detail steps to resolve it, as well as other related issues. 

This article applies to those who have a Black USB license plugged into the machine with Opticstudio, or are connected to a network license server with this key type. These key types have a serial number of 22000-40999.

How to request a license code

The first time you run OpticStudio, you may be prompted for a license code as shown here. 

If you see this dialog box, your copy of OpticStudio is correctly installed and the license key is recognized by the software. You just need a license code to allow this version of OpticStudio to run with your key. To request a license code:

  1. Take a screenshot of this dialog box on your screen (not the above example image), using Alt-Print_Screen, Windows Snipping Tool, or any other screen capture software. If you are unable to provide a screenshot, you may send in the first line of the license code request box instead. See the section highlighted in red in the example screenshot.
  2. Send the the screenshot or requested information to One of our global tech support staff will reply during support hours (currently 24 hours a day, 5 days a week). If your license is not eligible for the release you installed, they will inform you of your options. 
  3. Once you receive the license code from Zemax, enter it into the license code box and click Ok. Opticstudio should start up. If you have any troubles after entering the code, check the FAQ’s below.

License code FAQ’s:

What if I am asked for the code several times in a row and Opticstudio will not open?

There are several possible reasons for this.

  • The license code doesn’t match the Opticstudio release and key
  • There is a problem with the USB license
  • Opticstudio is unable to save the corresponding license code file.

Reply to the Zemax support team with a screenshot of the license code box, as well as the license number (such as 22000) and the license code you are entering. They can verify the code is correct and provide other troubleshooting tips as needed.

Can I save the license code to use when I reinstall Opticstudio in the future?

Yes. Be aware that license codes are specific to the license serial number (such as 20000) and release of Opticstudio installed. So you must install the same release of Opticstudio and use the same USB license when reusing the license code.

Will Zemax generate a license code even if the license support has expired?

If your license support has expired, you are only eligible to receive a license code for OpticStudio if your organization is an active customer of Ansys software. Having an active license of any Ansys software will fulfill this requirement. In accordance with export control regulations, we must ensure that all software licenses are provided to entities that can be properly vetted. If your organization is not an active Ansys customer, we do not have the information required to perform this vetting process. Providing software licenses to non-active or unverified users poses a risk of inadvertently providing our software to export-restricted entities, which we must strictly avoid.

If you receive a license code pop-up, please contact Zemax support and a member of the support team will be able to inform you of your eligibility status for a license code. The full software support policy as well as available installation files for previous releases are available on the Legacy Versions tab of the OpticStudio Downloads page.

Will I be asked for a license code every time I launch the software?

No. Normally you will only be asked once, when you first launch the software. If you log in to the computer with a different account, change the Opticstudio DATA folder to a new one, you may be asked again for the code. These actions remove the corresponding license code file. This is one good reason to save the generated code you receive. It will save you from having to request it again.  

Can I exchange my Black USB license for one that does not require a license code? 

Yes! You can exchange your license for a softkey license. These key types do not require license codes to launch the software. They only require an update code when renewing support. Note that your license must be under current support agreement for an exchange. Also, these new license types require Opticstudio 16 or higher as they use different license technology than the black USB licenses. They also do not support legacy Zemax 13 and older releases.  

What if the Zemax License Manager appears and I am prompted for a "New key" or "Activation code" instead? 

If you are trying to reach a network server that uses a black USB license, you won't use an activation code. See Installing OpticStudio with a Black USB network hardkey. Go to the client section to configure the server information.

If you have a black USB license plugged into your machine and get left at the "New key" page, then the software does not recognize your USB license. First, verify you are using a Zemax license and not one for other software. All Zemax Black USB licenses will have the license number engraved on them. For example, this license is 29966.

Next, see if the license driver is working. Black USB licenses light up with a green light at the end when plugged into your machine and properly installed. If it it does not light up, first try restarting the machine. If that doesn't work, check the article Troubleshooting license issues with a Black USB license.


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