Hello

You are probably here because you learned that Autodesk (the makers of AutoCAD, Civil 3D, Revit, & Inventor) is giving away free 1-year licenses to students! Yes, it’s true!

Unfortunately, the process can be a bit involved, depending on your level of computer experience. This site is intended to make it simpler for you to get access to this free software.

Good Luck!

IT Support Team
Architectural & Engineering CAD Department
Austin Community College

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Additional Note Concerning Autodesk’s Educational Program Accounts:

As of March 25, 2020, the license term for all educational licenses for all versions of Autodesk software is now 1 year. When the 1 year license expires, you can either renew for the current version or get the current release version.

Additionally, Autodesk has increased validation of educational eligibility through a new verification process. If you already have an account, you may be asked to provide additional information at your next sign in.

For more information, please visit Autodesk’s Educational Programs Account Management page.

Register with the Autodesk Education Community. Only after registering will you be able to download and activate your free license of CAD software.

To register with the community read and follow the steps below.

  1. Click here to open the Educational Registration page.
  2. Choose your Country.
  3. Select Student as your Educational Role
  4. Select University/Post-Secondary as your Institution Type
  5. Enter your Date of Birth
  6. Click Next to advance to the Account Creation page.

  1. Enter your First and Last name.
  2. Enter your ACC student email address (ending in @g.austincc.edu).
  3. Create a password for your new account and record it somewhere safe.
  4. Click the checkbox to agree to Autodesk’s terms and conditions, then click Create Account.

  1. Afterwards, you will receive an email asking you to to confirm your account creation.
  2. Continue with the steps below in the Account Verification section to complete the setup of your new account and verify that you are student at a valid educational institution.

Verify your newly created account and/or verify that you are a student. If you already had an account, and just need to verify that you are a student, please skip to the “Verify You are a Student” section below.

Verify New Account

After you have verified your email address for your newly created account, you will be redirected to a page titled “Just one more step” where it asks for information about the educational institution you are attending and the dates you are attending (click image to the right for more details).

  1. For the Name of educational Institution field, start typing “Austin Comm…” and choose “Austin Community College District (Austin, TX)” from the list that appears.
  2. Choose the Area of Study that you are interested in (choose all that apply).
  3. Choose the Month and Year that you started classes at ACC.
  4. Choose the Month and Year you are expecting to graduate (estimate if unsure), then click Next.

Verify You are a Student

You have now verified and completed setting up your account with Autodesk, or you already had an account, and now you need to verify that you are a student with a valid educational institution. To verify that you are a student follow the steps below:

  1.  If you just verified that you just created an account and are continuing from the previous section, you will automatically be redirected to the page where you can verify your account. Click on the Verify button (see left image below, click to enlarge).
  2. This will ultimately fail, but it is required in order to get the link (highlighted in middle image below, click to enlarge) where you can upload documentation to prove you are a student (see right image below, click to enlarge).

  1. If you already have an Autodesk account, and you are just verifying that you are a student, you will see similar images to the ones shown below either when you log in, or when you attempt to download any of the free software.


  1. Once you have gotten to the “Additional documentation needed” screen where you can upload documents to prove you are a student, you will need to get a signed copy of the Autodesk Verification Letter from us, which you can do by clicking the button to the right and filling out the form.
  2. After you have received the signed Autodesk Verification Letter from us, upload it to the Autodesk Educational Community site where it says “Drag documents here, or browse”, then click Submit.

  1. Following the submittal of your documentation, you will receive a “Thank you” screen letting you know that the verification process can take up to 20 minutes (see left image, click to enlarge). We have found that it usually takes no more than a minute to receive a notification that you have been verified (see middle image, click to enlarge) and an email that also lets you know the same thing (see right image, click to enlarge).

  1. Now that you have been verified as a student, proceed to the Download section below to continue downloading the software you need for your class.

Download the software you need.

  1. Visit the Autodesk Education Community
  2. Click on “Free Software” in the main menu at the top.
  3. Find the software you would like to get either in the “Featured” area or by scrolling down the page and viewing all the products.
  4. Once you have selected the product you would like, either sign in with an existing account or create one.
  5. Once you have signed in, then:
    1. Choose the version you want. (NOTE: We are currently using the 2020 version)
    2. Choose your language.
    3. Choose your operating system version (32-bit or 64-bit). See here for how to determine your system version.
  6. When the Install Now button is activated, click on the down arrow to the right side of the button and select Download Now from the drop-down menu. The Install Now option attempts to download and install the application at the same time, which often causes issues.
    • NOTE: If this is the first Autodesk product you are downloading to your computer, the file you will download is the Autodesk Download Manager (AutodeskDownloadManager_webinstall.exe). You need to install this in order for the main application to download.
    • If you already have the Autodesk Download Manager installed, a window will appear in your browser asking you for permission to open the product download in the Autodesk Download Manager. Click on the “Open Download Manager” button.
  7. When the Download Manager opens, a small window will ask you for location where it will download the files (defaults to C:\Autodesk). Click OK to download the Autodesk application you chose.
  8. Be sure to write down your serial number and product key (an e-mail containing this information will also be sent to your ACC student account).

NOTE: If you have trouble downloading the software from the website, we can give you a copy of the software on a USB flash drive. We ask that you try everything you can to first download from the website before talking to an A&E CAD Tech Support technician about getting a copy from us.

Once the application has finished downloading:

  1. Click Install from the Download Manager window, or…
  2. Look in the C:\Autodesk folder for a folder named “Autodesk_[your software name]_2020_ML_Windows_64bit_dlm and open it. Inside that folder locate the Setup.exe file and double-click it to begin the installation.
  3. Follow the prompts in the installation window to complete the installation of your Autodesk application.

Follow the steps in the Activation section below to license your Autodesk product.

Upon downloading your selected Autodesk software, you should have received an email from Autodesk Education with the subject Autodesk license details containing the serial number required to complete your selected software’s activation. If you do not see it in your inbox, please look for it in your spam and trash folders.


  1. Once installation is complete, click the Launch Now button from the installer or find your new application from the Start menu and click to launch it.
    • You will be presented with the splash screen pictured to the right.
  2. Click on the Select button inside the option to enter a serial number.
  1. Click the Activate button to continue with the activation.
  1. Enter your serial number and click the Next button to continue.

  1. Once the activation process completes, the following screen will inform you that your license is active – click the Finish button to close the activation window and continue launching your application.
    • You will also receive a confirmation email from noreply with the subject Autodesk Registration & Activations [your selected software name].

Congratulations! You have completed the activation process and are now ready to use your selected software.