Ultra Tip – Revit Suite Activation Trick


Alright, I’m excited about sharing this tip with you. Figuring out this trick just saved me and one of our clients a few hours of work.

Product: Revit Architecture Suite 2009
Issue: Activation – ‘activation code is invalid’
Cause: AutoCAD 2009 was activated before Revit Architecture 2009

The back story is pretty long-winded, so if you just want, you can just  jump to the tip

I was out onsite for an architecture firm that was having issues activating Revit. The client had installed the AutoCAD and Revit DVDs that ship in one box with the suite bundle. The suite is unique in that both products share a serial number and when you go to activate, they both generate the same request code.

The client had installed, uninstalled, reinstalled both products several times due to another issue they have been having for a few months (I’ll talk about that in another post) and had used up their ‘automatic’ activations through the product. Now the request codes had to be called in. No problem.

That problem occured when the activation codes from Autodesk were pasted back in and the products were activated. The AutoCAD 2009 seat activated immediately, once the code was pasted in. Revit 2009 gives a message of ‘Invalid Activation Code’. Lame! Autodesk Registration verifies that the code is correct, but it doesn’t work.

Now, some of you may already know the issue. After talking to a senior support tech at Autodesk, I learn that Revit Architecture needed to be activated before AutoCAD, or it won’t be able to activate at all. This is frustrating, as nothing in the packaging of the suite or the documentation included with the suite DVDs mentions anything about this order. It’s just one of those things you have to know, I guess. And if you don’t, know you do. But wait, that’s not my tip! It gets better!

I ask about the lack of documentation, and I’m told that they don’t mention this because on the majority of systems, it really doesn’t matter what order you activate in. So, it may not be that big of an issue, but just to be on the safe side, install both products, then make sure to activate Revit Architecture 2009 before AutoCAD.

Since we had already activated AutoCAD first, we’re stuck. The support tech tells me the only way to fix things is to uninstall both products, reinstall, then activate Revit first. This sounds like way too much work! I figure I might be able to get by with just uninstalling AutoCAD, activating Revit, then reinstalling AutoCAD. This might have worked, and would have been much faster than going through that with Revit, but then inpiration strikes!

Here’s the Ultra Tip!

Use the PLU (Portable License Utility).

Autodesk-Portable-License-UtilitySimply export the license to a folder on your computer. For this client, AutoCAD 2009 had the license info, so we used the PLU in the AutoCAD menu group to export it.

Then, import the license from the file, using the PLU in the Revit menu group.

Just like that, Revit was now activated — no reinstall necessary!

BTW, AutoCAD didn’t need to be activated. In the Revit Suite configuration, AutoCAD is treated almost like an add-on and simply piggybacks onto the Revit license. Nice!

Trust me, I’ll make sure to remember to activate Revit first in the future, but for clients who have already done it a bit backwards, this PLU trick is a huge time saver! I hope it saves you some time as well.

4 thoughts on “Ultra Tip – Revit Suite Activation Trick

  1. This is interesting, that 2009 did this. My firm has the Acad/revit Architectural suite and in 2008 i had to do it the other way, I needed to activate Acad first, before revit would activate.

  2. Mathew,
    It was interesting to me too. (Maybe frustrating is the right word…;) These suites are sometimes tricky. I seem to recall having to do things in reverse order in 2008 like you said. Then again, it seems that most workstations don’t have this problem at all. I suspect that the PLU swap trick would have worked in Revit Architecture Suite 2008 as well.

  3. Hello!
    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

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