Installing OpticsViewer for the first time

This article is a walkthrough on how to install OpticsViewer and use your license on a new computer. It provides step by step instructions on how to install OpticsViewer for the first time. It explains different types of licenses supported by OpticsViewer and how to apply them on your computer. It also includes some useful tips to resolve installation and licensing issues.

Authored By Matthew Sutton


This article describes how to navigate the installation process for OpticsViewer. It also contains links to dedicated troubleshooting articles.

If you are the license administrator and configuring and activating an OpticsViewer license server for the first time, see How to configure the keyserver for Zemax network licenses

Before you begin

This assumes you are an end user installing OpticsViewer and trying to reach an OpticsViewer license server. 

  1. Verify your organization has purchased a current OpticsViewer license. This is normally installed on a server so it will be accessible to all who need it. 
  2. Verify your computer meets the system requirements as described on the OpticsViiewer download page below. Basically be sure to install on a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or newer version of Windows.
  3. Make sure you have administrative privileges to install software on your workstation.
  4. Download the software. Current and previous versions of the software are available on the OpticsViewer downloads page. Note that you will need a Zemax account to access the downloads page. If you just purchased a license, you should have already received an invitation. Otherwise fill out the registration form linked at the bottom of the login screen and include the OpticsViewer license number.

Installing OpticsViewer

Double click the OpticsViewer installer file. A Setup Wizard will then open, guiding you through the installation. The End User License Agreement screen will then appear. Read over the terms of the license agreement. If you agree with the terms, select I accept the agreement and then click Next to continue. 


You will then see a screen reminding you to close any open instances of OpticsViewer or the manual. After doing this, press Next to proceed.

You will then be prompted for the installation location. By default, OpticsViewer will install to C:\Program Files\Zemax OpticsViewer, but you can specify the location or folder name of your choice. Click Next to proceed.

Select Location

Similarly, you can specify the Start Menu folder. Click Next to proceed.


You can then choose to add a desktop icon or quick launch icon. Click Next to proceed.


The next screen brings up a summary of the installation.


Click Install to continue. You'll then see a dialogue notifying you that the installation is progressing.


Once the prerequisites have installed, you will be returned to the OpticsViewer installer. Click Next to continue.


The installer will then show the completion screen. There is an option to launch OpticsViewer. If checked, Clicking Finish will also start OpticsViewer.


Opening OpticsViewer

The first time you launch OpticsViewer, ​the splash screen will show briefly. You'll then be notified that OpticsViewer needs to copy some files to your data folder. If you have not changed the data folder location within a previously installed release of OpticsViewer, these files are copied to your Windows account's Documents\zemax folder. These files include all the sample lens files and catalogs that come with OpticsViewer. Click OK.

After the files are copied, OpticsViewer will launch. If your license is already configured, it will launch successfully as pictured below. If it lands in the Zemax License Manager instead and asks to activate a new license, move to the Configuring your OpticsViewer License section. If OpticsViewer crashes or gives an error message, please read the Troubleshooting section below.


Configuring your OpticsViewer license

OpticsViewer is intended for groups of users and is issued as a network licenses. Network licenses are hosted on a network server machine, The license seats can be used on different OpticsViewer client machines throughout the network up to the maximum number of seats purchased.

If you are going to share the license on a license server, follow the license server setup guide in How to configure the keyserver for Zemax network licenses before continuing with this guide. 

Most often these license types will automatically be usable if you are connected to your organization's network. If not, here is additional information to configure the license on your client machine.

If it is not already open, launch the Zemax License Manager from Start...Zemax OpticsViewer..Zemax License Manager. Check the View License tab. 


What to do if OpticsViewer will not launch

If OpticsViewer generates a crash, error message, or nothing happens at all (no error), please see "Troubleshooting your OpticsViewer installation". 

Cannot find Zemax key or license


If you either cannot see the OpticsViewer license on the View License page in Zemax License Manager, or can see it but OpticsViewer still will not launch, check out resolving network license issues on client machines


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