Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find answers to frequently asked questions. If you do not find the answer to your question, send your question by e-mail to the 3D-Tool Support:

To show and hide the answers, just click on the questions.

Purchasing FAQs

What is the difference between 3D-Tool Free Viewer, Basic, Advanced and Premium?

The difference between 3D-Tool Free Viewer, Basic, Advanced and Premium is the file formats that are supported. All other features for viewing, analyzing and measuring 3D models and 2D drawings are the same in each version.

Additionally, 3D-Tool Premium has the 3D-NativeCAD Converter to convert native CATIA, Pro/E, Creo, Autodesk Inventor, UG/NX, SolidEdge and SolidWorks files as well as STEP (STP), IGS, VDA, SAT, Parasolid and JT files into 3D CATIA, STEP, IGS, VDA, SAT, X_T and STL files.

The 3D-Tool Free Viewer supports 3D-Tool EXE and DDD files, as well as STL files. It has a lot of  features of 3D-Tool, such as Cross Section, Measure/Markup and Explosion, but files cannot be saved or published.

How can I order 3D-Tool?

By Credit Card, or Purchase Order/Check... via website, e-mail, phone, or Fax.

On-line: Purchase with Credit Card
E-mail P.O. to
Fax or phone: 877-711-3900

Is it possible to try 3D-Tool before buying it?

You can try 3D-Tool Premium for 14 days once by getting a free Trial Key from the programs startup splash screen.

How do I request a free Trial Key?

How do I request a free Trial Key?Start 3D-Tool, click on “Get Trial Key” in the Licensing Dialog, and enter the information requested. The Trial Key is sent to your e-mail address within 60 minutes. After you receive the Trial Key, enter it in the Licensing dialog to activate 3D-Tool Premium.

During the trial period, you can choose in the License dialog at the start of 3D-Tool a license for the current session: Basic, Advanced or Premium. Doing this, only the relevant interfaces and program functions are activated. This way you can test 3D-Tool in the exact version you intend to purchase.

The 14-day-trial starts on the day that you received the Trial Key.

Are there any updates and how do I get them?

3D-Tool is continually updated, and the updates are placed on our website where they can be downloaded.

Updates within a major release (called 'minor' version updates) are free of charge.
You will not need a new License Key.
You can also check for Updates by going to the Options tab in 3D-Tool and selecting Check for Updates.

Updates to a higher version of 3D-Tool are subject to modest fee through the Purchasing page. You will then receive a new Authorization Key for the new Major version.
Purchasing Page

Licensing FAQs

Installing and Licensing 3D-Tool

Installing and Licensing 3D-Tool.pdf

How does the online activation of 3D-Tool work?

You receive a License Certificate for each license that you buy.
Use the Authorization Key from the certificate to request a computer specific License Key (needed for activation) online.

Download 3D-Tool from our website and install it. Start 3D-Tool, and click on “Get License Key” in the Licensing dialog. Then enter the Authorization Key. Next, enter your e-mail address. You should receive the License Key within 60 minutes.

Once you have received the License Key by e-mail, enter the Key into the Licensing window, or simply save the license file (license.dat) that comes with the License Key in the installation folder of 3D-Tool.

What is the License Certificate, Authorization Key, License Key, Serial Number?

License Certificate, A PDF document

- E-mailed to you when you purchased 3D-Tool software
- States what version of software you own, the Serial Number, and Authorization Key.

Serial Number, 5 digits: 12345

- Number assigned to your purchased software
- Does not change from Version to Version
- It is found on your License Certificate, and in 3D-Tool: Options > About 3D-Tool
- Please include the Serial Number in all correspondence.

Authorization Key, 3 groups of 4 alphanumerics: XX88-88XX-X88X
- Only found on License Certificate PDF.
- Assigned to your Version of purchased software
- Proof of ownership of a particular Software package and Major Version, Example: 3D-Tool Premium - Version 13
- Required for on-line License generation

Registration-ID, 2 groups of 5 alphanumerics: ABC12-34DEF

- Unique number created by the software on a particular computer.
- The number will be different on every computer the application is installed on.

License Key, 5 groups of 4 alphanumerics: XX88 XX88 XX88 XX88 XX88

- Unique number sent to you after following Licensing instructions.
- The License Key activates your version software on a particular computer.
- The number will be different on every computer the application is installed on.

How can I obtain a License Key on a computer without a connection to the Internet?

If you want to activate 3D-Tool on a computer without an Internet connection, the License Key has to be requested by e-mail or fax.
Submit the Authorization Key and the Registration-ID that is displayed at the start of 3D-Tool.

Can I install the 3D-Tool Free Viewer without administrative rights?

You do not need administrative rights to install the Free Viewer. Download the installation file of the 3D-Tool Free Viewer from our download page and execute the file. After the installation, you can use the program immediately. You do not need a License Key

However, it is recommended to have administrative rights when installing the Free Viewer, otherwise file associations to the EXE, DDD, and STL files cannot be created.

Where can I find the Authorization Key for the online activation of 3D-Tool?

When you ordered a 3D-Tool license, you received a License Certificate (a PDF attachement to original email). That certificate contains the Authorization Key to activate newly installed software. Print or save the License Certificate and keep it in a safe place. Without your Authorization Key activation is not possible.

I can’t find my License Certificate with the Authorization-Key. What should I do?

The License Certificate is sent to the e-mail address that you provided when you ordered. If you did not order yourself, contact the person who ordered. If you do not have a License Certificate, you can request it by e-mail: We will check to see if you own a 3D-Tool license and send you the License Certificate. If you happen to know the Serial Number of the license, please provide it in the e-mail.

Note: If you purchased directly from Germany, you will need to contact them at

Will I receive a program CD and when will it be delivered?

No, you will not receive a CD of the software. The current version of 3D-Tool can be downloaded on our website at any time.

You receive a License Certificate for each license that you buy. Use the Authorization Key on the certificate, to request the License Key (needed for activation) online. We guarantee the availability of the download for 30 days from the date of the delivery note. Please ensure an adequate backup of the downloaded installation file.

Can I use the 3D-Tool license on more than one computer?

No, the 3D-Tool license can only be used on one computer. If you want to use 3D-Tool on more than one computer, you have to buy the required number of licenses. Contact us, so we can make you an individual offer.

For license quantities of 50 seats or more we offer volume licensing. On request, we also offer server licenses which allow to activate 3D-Tool on a server and to be accessed by multiple users.

Are there network (floating) licenses available for 3D-Tool?

No, network licenses are not supported by 3D-Tool. If you want to use 3D-Tool on more than one computer, contact us, so we can make you an individual offer.

For license quantities of 50 seats or more we offer volume licensing. On request, we also offer server licenses which allow to activate 3D-Tool on a server and to be accessed by multiple user.

Licensing a New PC or re-installing

Installing on a New Computer or after a system wipe.

You cannot re-use the License Key from your previous computer.
If you are installing on a New computer, or reinstalling after the operating system has been reinstalled ("re-imaged"), then you will have to request a NEW License Key by using the Authorization Key from your License Certificate.

How can I request a new License Key for my new or reimaged computer?

Download from our website the version of 3D-Tool corresponding the major version shown on your License Certificate, and install it.

Follow the instructions provided for Licensing software on your specific computer: Enter the Authorization Key in the licensing window.
After you enter your e-mail address, the new License Key will be sent to you.

If you have an older version or do not have a connection to the Internet, you have to request the new License Key by e-mail or fax. Please, submit your Authorization Key and the new Registration-ID that is displayed when the program is started.

Old version downloads... Where can I get a version prior to V13?

Sorry... We cannot provide any 3D-Tool installer applications prior to version 13.
An email was sent to all users May, 2018 to explain:

Concerning Versions Prior to 13
Protecting data privacy
On May 25th, 2018, the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. The new law contains extensive regulations and information requirements for the processing and protection of personal data.

All 3D-Tool versions up to and including 3D-Tool Version 12 do not meet the more restrictive requirements of the GDPR. Therefore, we will not be able to provide Installers for versions prior to 13.

Updating your software version to the current downloadable version is available on the Purchase page for a nominal fee.

Working with 3D-Tool

What hardware do I need to use 3D-Tool?

3D-Tool has no specific hardware requirements. A computer with 1GB RAM or more should display large and complex 3D-models without problems.

Catia V5/V6 files
You might not be able to use the Catia V5/V6 import on older computers (purchased before 2003) due to hardware restrictions. We recommend to try the Catia V5/V6 import with a Trial Key if you want to use 3D-Tool Premium on such computers.

OpenGL Support
3D-Tool needs OpenGL support to display the models. The available software emulation is used by default. On most computers the OpenGL hardware acceleration can be used to speed up the display of the models.

Screen resolution
We recommend a screen resolution of at least 1024 x 768 pixels. 3D-Tool will run with lower resolutions, but in this case, not all controls can be displayed.

Is a manual or other resources available?

There a various resources available to help you while working with 3D-Tool:

A detailed Help that can be opened at any time by pressing F1.

A printable PDF manual. Go to Windows START > All programs > 3D-Tool V11 to open the manual.

In the same location you can find the 3D-Tool Quick Reference that gives an overview of the user interface.

How do I import files form my CAD program? Can I open native CAD files when in 3D-Tool?

Only 3D-Tool Premium supports the import of native CATIA, Pro/E, Creo, Autodesk Inventor, UG/NX, SolidEdge and SolidWorks files. However, 3D-Tool Basic, Advanced and Premium support many other 3D file formats: STEP, IGS, VDA, SAT, PARASOLID, STL, VRML, 3DS, SLP, OBJ, XGL, DXF, IV. Using these file formats 3D-Tool can be used with most CAD programs.

Can I use 3D-Tool to convert CAD files?

You can save models opened in 3D-Tool as STL, VRML, 3DS, U3D, EXE, DDD and 3D-PDF files.
Additionally, 3D-Tool Premium comes with the 3D-NativeCAD Converter that converts native CATIA, Pro/E, Creo, Autodesk Inventor, UG/NX, SolidEdge and SolidWorks files, as well as STEP, IGS, VDA, SAT and Parasolid files to Catia V4/V5, STEP, IGES, VDA, SAT, and STL.

Can I create a 2D drawing of a 3D model?

No; however, you can open or send a 2D drawing separately or along with a 3D model. You can also export section lines as DXF files.

Why does 3D-Tool freeze when loading a 3D CAD  file?

Most times this means that 3D-Tool is still loading the file but takes longer than usual due to the size of the file. Large and complex files may take up to a few minutes.

The model I opened responds slowly. How can I speed up the display?

A large model with numerous triangles can slow down the display. You have the following possibilities to speed up the display:

Activate the Hardware Acceleration in the Options menu. In rare cases there may be problems when displaying the models after the hardware acceleration is activated. If this happens, make sure the drivers of your graphics card are up to date. If the problems remain, you cannot use the hardware acceleration with your graphics card.

Reduce the number of triangles created. In the Advanced and Premium import  you can reduce the number of triangles that is created by increasing the values of the Chord height and the Angle control. This is especially useful if a large and complex model produces far more than 500.000 triangles when imported into 3D-Tool.

Why does “No usable elements found” appear when I import a file?

3D-Tool supports surface, volume geometry and curves. If you receive this message, the 3D-Tool Import did not find any of those elements in the file or could not read the file. Please send an e-mail to the 3D-Tool Support, if you have these or different problems.

Why does “This file format is not supported by the Free Viewer” appear when I import a file?

This message appears if you are trying to open a file that is not a 3D-Tool EXE/DDD or STL file while you are using the Free Viewer. To open any other file format you need 3D-Tool and a valid License Key.

How can I display the textures of my original model in 3D-Tool?

3D-Tool imports the color properties of the original file if these are available in the file format. However, textures are not supported.

The program does not work / does not work properly. Is there anything I can do?

If you have activated the Hardware Acceleration and keep having problems, this is most often due to an inadequate OpenGL implementation in the drivers of the graphics card.

Deactivate the Hardware Acceleration by going to Options tab > Preferences > Hardware. Then restart 3D-Tool. If the program is working properly after deactivating the hardware acceleration, try updating the drivers of your graphics card. If the hardware acceleration still causes problems, it cannot be used with your graphics card.

If problems occur without hardware acceleration, contact us by e-mail at

The import or converting does not work. Is there anything I can do?

If after the installation and activation of the program the import or converting of certain files does not work properly, please check in the Windows Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall or Change a Program, whether the following software components exit:

Dassault Systemes Software VC9 Prerequisites
Dassault Systemes Software VC10 Prerequisites

If one component is missing, deactivate your virus scanner temporarily and execute the 3D-Tool installation again.

For any problems with the program, contact our 3D-Tool Support team.

Publishing EXE Files

What is a 3D-Tool EXE file?

The 3D-Tool EXE files contain the 3D-Tool Viewer and your CAD data. You can share them with customers or suppliers. The EXE files can be opened on an computer with a Windows operating system without any installations or license. The recipient can view the model on his computer and use all features of the 3D-Tool Viewer.

Does the recipient need a 3D-Tool license to open the EXE files?

No, the 3D-Tool EXE files can be opened without a 3D-Tool license.

Has the recipient to install anything before starting 3D-Tool EXE files?

No, when a 3D-Tool EXE file is started, nothing will be installed.

Can the recipient of EXE files make changes on the model and save them?

The recipient can make changes on the model but cannot save them.

My EXE file is blocked by a firewall. Is there a way to bypass the firewall?

In case the EXE file you sent is blocked by the firewall of the recipient, create a ZIP file when publishing the EXE file. That way the file is packed into a ZIP archive. The recipient only has to unpack the file. If ZIP files are blocked also use Password to assign a password to the ZIP file. This way the file can only be opened with a password. If the file is still blocked, create an unzipped EXE file  and change the file extension from *.exe to *.txt. Then zip the file. The recipient has to manually change the file extension back to *.exe.

If all of the above fails the following options are available:

You publish the model as a DDD file. These contain everything an EXE file does except the 3D-Tool Viewer and can be sent by e-mail without difficulties. The recipient needs the 3D-Tool Free Viewer to view the file.
You publish the model as a 3D-PDF file that can be viewed with the Adobe Acrobat Reader (7.0.7 or higher).