How do I convert an installation with dongle to an electronic activation?

Since Vectorworks 2020, only dongle-free licenses (also called electronic licenses) are distributed. These licenses can be recognized by the serial number starting with ‘E’.

If you are using an older version of Vectorworks (max. 3 previous versions compared to the current Vectorworks version) and you want to convert it to a dongle-free version, you will have to uninstall it first and then reinstall it. During this reinstallation process, you can then enter your new, dongle-free serial number.

If you are a member of Vectorworks Service Select, you will find all serial numbers on the Vectorworks Customer Portal under ‘Licenses’. For the older serial numbers, click the black arrow next to ‘Version’. If you do not have a Service Select account, please contact us to convert the serial number(s) of your older version(s).

Of course, you can always open drawings created in a previous Vectorworks version in the latest version of Vectorworks - there is no need for a reinstallation. If you no longer need the older versions of Vectorworks, we recommend that you simply uninstall them.


  • Go to the program folder.

    • Windows : C:\Program Files

    • macOS : Programs

  • Choose the Vectorworks version you want to remove.

  • Double-click the 'Uninstall' icon located in the desired folder.

  • Confirm to uninstall.

  • When asked if you want to delete the user folder and all content, click 'No’.

  • Deinstallation starts;

  • After confirmation, this version is uninstalled.


  • If you are a Service Select member, go to the Customer Portal, choose ‘Downloads’  and select ‘Prior Vectorworks releases’ to download the desired Vectorworks version. If you are not a Service Select member, you will find the right installers on this support portal.

  • Unzip / decompress the downloaded folder (Windows only).

  • Start the installation process.

  • Follow the instructions in the dialog box, enter your  ‘New serial number’ (which starts with ‘E’) and fill in your personal details.

  • Complete the instructions in the dialog box.

  • Congratulations: You have now installed a dongle-free version.

Repeat all the steps for the other versions that you would like to use without dongles.

Last update: 28/03/2022
Julie is the author of this solution article.

Did you find it helpful? Yes No

Send feedback
Sorry we couldn't be helpful. Help us improve this article with your feedback.