Autodesk Desktop Subscription FAQ

Aug 26, 2014


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You want general information about Autodesk Desktop Subscription licensing.


About Autodesk Desktop Subscription

What is Desktop Subscription?
Desktop Subscription is a new purchasing option that allows you to license Autodesk desktop software on a short-term basis to meet a variety of business and budget considerations, such as taking on finite projects, or hiring temporary staff. Customers who purchase Desktop Subscription receive similar benefits to customers who purchase perpetual licenses with Autodesk® Subscription. These benefits include basic support, access to the latest software and product enhancements, and in some cases, access to select cloud services.

Why is Autodesk offering Desktop Subscription?
Autodesk is offering Desktop Subscription in response to growing customer demand. Desktop Subscription provides flexibility and choice for how to access Autodesk software. You have two ways to purchase: you can buy a traditional perpetual license or pay as you go with Desktop Subscription. It’s your choice.

A perpetual license is ideal if you need ongoing access to Autodesk software while Desktop Subscription enables you to license software on a short-term basis - monthly, quarterly or annually. This is a great choice if you have fluctuating project and staffing needs.

What Desktop Subscription plans are available for purchase?
For detailed information about Autodesk Desktop Subscription, contact your Autodesk Reseller or visit A Desktop Subscription Price List is available on the Autodesk Store.

What is the difference between perpetual and Desktop Subscription licenses?
Traditional perpetual software licenses grant license holders the right to use the version of Autodesk software that is purchased for as long as they want. Desktop Subscription grants license holders the right to use the software for a specified period of time with the option to renew their contract for additional payments.

Customers who purchase a Desktop Subscription receive similar benefits to customers who purchase perpetual licenses with Autodesk® Subscription. These benefits include basic support, access to the latest software and product enhancements, and in some cases, access to select cloud services.

Feature / Benefit Perpetual license with Autodesk® Subscription Desktop Subscription
Licensing term Perpetual license

Annual / multi-year Subscription
Monthly, Quarterly and Annual plans
Desktop software licensing Multi-user (standalone) or networked license Named user (standalone) – See "What is an Autodesk Named User."
Renewals Autodesk® Subscription—renewable annually Monthly plans—automatic-renewal until cancellation.Agreement end date is set to has the end date 31/12/3333

Quarterly plans—renewable quarterly

Annual plans - Channel/Direct - renewable annually Autodesk Store -automatic renewal when purchased through the Autodesk Store Agreement end date is set to has the end date 31/12/3333. See "What Desktop Subscription software ios available for purchase."
Access to latest software and product enhancements Yes Yes
Basic Support Included with Standard and Premium Suite editions and standalone products
Advanced Support Included with some Ultimate Suite editions, optional for Standard and Premium editions, some Ultimate Suite editions and standalone products
Previous versions rights Yes Yes (2014 versions for eligible products)
Home use rights Users can install a second copy at a second location away from their office. See Subscription Terms & Conditions Not applicable, as Named User licensing applies. See "What is an Autodesk named user."
Territory of Use Rights

Extra territory rights
Extra territory rights -  Use outside of the country of purchase for up to 90 days in a 12-month period Territory of use rights — worldwide usage rights (If purchased in home country provided home country is not an excluded country). If purchased outside home country or in an excluded country, Desktop Subscriptions can only be used in the country of purchase. (See Terms & Conditions)
Cloud service benefits Access based on suite and edition
Cloud credits If entitled, issued with subscription contract
Cloud storage policy 25 GB per seat, no pooling of storage 
Data retention 30 days after a subscription expires, customer’s storage limitations will be reduced from 25GB to 5GB. Customers have 30 days to remove data over 5GB.

Will Autodesk’s perpetual desktop software products and suites go away?

  • No. Desktop Subscription is provided in addition to perpetual licenses. Autodesk is committed to providing you the flexibility to choose.

What are the benefits of Autodesk Desktop Subscription?

  • Pay–as-you-go access to software: This gives you the flexibility to control costs without an up-front license investment or long-term commitment. In some cases, you may be able to bill the cost of  Desktop Subscription back to your clients, making it easier to treat software costs as an operating expense rather than a capital expense.
  • Stay up to date: With an active Desktop Subscription, you always have access to the latest software releases and product enhancements.
  • Scalable licensing: Desktop Subscription helps enable easier addition and removal of licenses. You can scale up to manage a variety of temporary project and staffing needs like the addition of consultants, interns, and part-time employees.

What are the differences between monthly, quarterly and annual Desktop Subscription licenses?

  • Annual subscriptions are available for purchase from Autodesk resellers, directly from Autodesk, and from the Autodesk Store (for certain products only). Annual subscriptions purchased directly from Autodesk and from Autodesk resellers are renewable, while annual subscriptions purchased from the Autodesk store renew automatically. 
Annual subscriptions begin the day that the purchase confirmation is sent to the customer and end 12 months from the purchase date. At this time customers with renewable annual subscriptions can choose to renew. Annual subscriptions purchased from the Autodesk store renew automatically one year from the purchase date and each year thereafter, until the customer cancels the subscription. 
  • Quarterly subscriptions are available for purchase through Autodesk resellers and direct from Autodesk. These subscriptions expire at the end of a three-month period, at which point the customer has a choice to renew. Quarterly subscriptions begin the day that the purchase confirmation is sent to the customer and end three months later. For example, if a customer purchases a quarterly subscription beginning on August 31, the license will automatically terminate on November 30, (or the last day of the third month).
  • Monthly subscriptions are available for purchase through the Autodesk Store and renew automatically. Monthly subscriptions begin the day that purchase confirmation is sent to the customer and renew on the same day of each month. For example, if a customer purchases a monthly recurring plan beginning on July 31, the customer will automatically be billed on the 31st (or the last day) of each month thereafter, until the customer cancels the subscription.

What are the technical support and upgrade benefits of Desktop Subscription?
Desktop Subscription includes many of the same technical support and upgrades offered through Autodesk Maintenance Subscription for perpetual licenses. See "What is the difference between a perpetual license and Desktop Subscription?."

Is Autodesk® Maintenance Subscription available for Desktop Subscription?
No, Autodesk Maintenance Subscription is not applicable for Desktop Subscription. Desktop Subscription customers receive similar benefits to that of Maintenance Subscription customers including technical support, software updates, and in some cases access to select cloud services.See "What is the difference between a perpetual license and Desktop Subscription?."

Installation and Getting Started

When does a Desktop Subscription begin?
The Desktop Subscription begins when you receive the order confirmation email. For example, if you place an order on August 31 and receive the order confirmation on the same day, the subscription term begins on August 31.

What is an Autodesk named user?
Autodesk has developed an identity-based system that maintains a relationship between an Autodesk ID and Autodesk assets (e.g. Desktop Subscription or Cloud Service Subscription). With a Desktop Subscription, there is a 1:1 relationship between the user and Autodesk regarding entitlement to access and use the Autodesk asset. Users should not share their Autodesk IDs.  Many software firms have adopted similar named user models. 

After I purchase Desktop Subscription, how do I get started?

Step 1: Sign In

After your purchase, you'll receive an email with a link to the Autodesk Account sign in page. Login using your username and password (or the temporary username and password created for you).

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Step 2: Access Products & Services

Once you’ve signed in, click "Account" in the top navigation to land on the Products & Services page. This page includes all you've purchased as an administrator and/or entitled to use as an end user. Installation is easy: Simply find a product or service and click "Install Now" or "Access Now.

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Step 3: (Cloud services only): 

Track cloud credit usageTo view your shared or individual cloud credit usage, click the "Reporting" navigation in the left navigation. In the Usage Report by Contract, expand the contract to view the breakdown of usage per Service and export a detailed CSV report of all cloud credits used by date. If you need more credits, clicking "Get more cloud credits" will take you to the checkout to purchase 100-packs.

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See How to install Desktop Subscription Software for more information.

How do I find my serial number and product key?
The product download should automatically apply your serial number and product key, but some cases you might need to enter it – on the "Product & Services page", expand a product to find the serial number and product key. Cloud services don't need serial numbers or product keys.

How do I purchase more cloud credits?
If you need more credits, there are three ways to obtain them. Either contact your Autodesk reseller, Autodesk directly, or purchase through the Autodesk Store by clicking on "Get more cloud credits" on the Usage Report page – this will take you to the checkout to purchase 100–packs.

Configuration and Usage

Does the software included with Desktop Subscription require an internet connection to work?
The desktop software will work offline for up to 14 days, at which point you must connect to the Internet to continue. After seven days of disconnected use, you will be reminded about the requirement to connect to the Internet. An Internet connection is required in order to access cloud services.

Does the Desktop Subscription software sit in the cloud or on my desktop?
Desktop Subscription software is installed on the desktop in the same manner as traditional perpetual-license, desktop products. They are not hosted. Like their perpetual-license counterparts, many Desktop Subscriptions include access to cloud services that are not installed on your desktop, for example, rendering.

How do I give other users access and track cloud credit usage?

Manage users:

If you have purchased more than one Desktop Subscription license for a product or suite, administrators can invite other users. Through the “Users” page, administrators can assign users to download/access products and services, view and create web support tickets, and access any advanced support. To Invite users, simply by clicking "add user" - this will automatically create an Autodesk Account for them if they don't already have one. With the Bulk add, copy and paste up to 50 users with the specified formatting (first name last name email).

Then select the access the users should have. The users will receive an email notifying them their permissions were updated. Users can then go to Autodesk Account to access the products and services they have been given access to. You can also select multiple users from the user list at a later time and click the "Actions" menu to set their access.

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Track user usage:

To view cloud credit usage for Autodesk services, you will need to enable this feature in the administrator’s Autodesk Account, Once enabled, click the "Reporting" navigation in the left navigation, then click "By Users". You will see a list of users sorted by highest cloud credit usage. If a user is assigned to multiple contracts, you will be able to see their usage for all contracts you manage.

Where do files created using Desktop Subscription software reside?
Files and projects created with Desktop Subscription software are saved locally. Although an actively licensed Desktop Subscription or perpetual software product is required to open and edit files, you retain your data.

Are files created using Desktop Subscription any different from those created using perpetual-licensed Autodesk software?
No. There is no difference in files created using either perpetual or subscription software. They are 100% compatible with each other.

What happens to data stored in the cloud if a Desktop Subscription is not renewed or is terminated?
Cloud services entitlement continues until the end of the billing cycle, at which point all documents stored in Autodesk 360 Storage remains available for a further 30 days (25 GB). If your subscription has expired you can continue to access and view existing designs and documentation files during this period, but you will not be able to edit or add information to the files. After 30 days, your Autodesk 360 account will revert to the free offering and storage limitations will be reduced from 25 GB to 5 GB.


What are my territory rights if I purchase a Desktop Subscription?
If you buy a Desktop Subscription in your home country, and provided your home country is not an excluded country, you have worldwide rights for usage. If you buy outside your home country or if you’re in an excluded country, then the Desktop Subscription can only be used in the country of purchase.  See: Autodesk Subscription Terms and Conditions.

Does Desktop Subscription include previous version usage rights?
As of March 2014, Desktop Subscription will include access to 2014 versions of select eligible products and suites (see Eligibility List for available products). 

Can I assign my entire global team to a single Desktop Subscription purchased in the United States?
No. Desktop Subscription needs to be purchased in the home country or territory and only users who reside in that home country can be assigned as a named user.

Can I convert an existing, perpetual desktop license to a Desktop Subscription license?
No, you cannot convert a perpetual license to Desktop Subscription.

Can I convert a Desktop Subscription license into a perpetual license?
No. You cannot convert a Desktop Subscription license to a perpetual license. If you wish to purchase a perpetual license instead, you will need to cancel your Desktop Subscription and place a new order for a perpetual license. You will not be entitled to any discount based on Desktop Subscription fees paid to date. Contact your Autodesk reseller for more info.

If I purchase a Desktop Subscription can I also purchase cloud credits?
Yes. As a Desktop Subscription customer, you can purchase cloud credits thorough your Autodesk reseller, through the Autodesk Store, or directly from Autodesk. See: Autodesk Cloud Credits FAQ.

Can I purchase a combination of Desktop Subscriptions and perpetual licenses with maintenance subscription?
Yes. You may purchase a combination of perpetual licences with maintenance subscription and Desktop Subscription on separate contracts, through separate orders.

Is there a Desktop Subscription for network licenses?
No. Desktop Subscription licenses are named-user licenses; each license can be used by one end user, who accesses the Desktop Subscription software with his or her individual Autodesk ID.

Are Desktop Subscription licenses transferable?
No. License transfers are not available.

What happens if my Desktop Subscription contract expires but I wish to renew at a later date?
What if my credit card expires and prevents the automatic renewal of my monthly Desktop Subscription?
In these cases, you can simply place an order for a new Desktop Subscription.  Late renewals after an agreement has expired are not supported.

How do I cancel a Desktop Subscription contract?
Monthly and annual Desktop Subscriptions (purchased through the Autodesk Store) are automatically renewed until you cancel them. To cancel, click the Cancel Contract link on the Products & Services page of your Autodesk Account..

How do I renew my Desktop Subscription? Will I receive renewal notices?
The renewal process for quarterly and annual Desktop Subscriptions purchased via Autodesk Resellers and directly from Autodesk is the same as the Autodesk Maintenance Subscription process. You will receive renewal notifications at 45, 30, and 4 days prior to expiration and 10 days post expiration. 

The renewal process for monthly and annual Desktop Subscriptions executed through the Autodesk Store is automatic. You do need not to take any action. Your credit card will be charged each month or year per the automatic renewal agreement you accept on the Autodesk Store, and a confirmation will be sent to you after each renewal. 

Can I change the Suite Edition or Support Level?
Changing Desktop Subscription plans to a different suite edition or to a different support level is not supported. This requires letting the current plan expire,and starting a new plan of the new suite edition or support level.