Setting the License Feature Level in the Feature Level Selector

Product(s): WaterCAD, WaterGEMS, HAMMER, SewerGEMS, SewerCAD, StormCAD, CivilStorm, PondPack
Version(s): 10.02.XX.XX and greater
Area: Licensing


The Bentley products above are licensed by feature levels, for example number of pipes, ponds, inlets, and whether or not AutoCAD integration is possible. See more about feature levels here: How do OpenFlows product licenses work with element limits? (feature levels)

The Feature Level Selector is a tool on the client computer that is used to guide you through the process of selecting the license feature level that is used when the product is opened. This tool is only available for versions that use Bentley's Subscription Entitlement Service (formerly known as CONNECT Licensing), starting with 10.02.XX.XX. For information on selecting feature levels for earlier versions, see: Setting the Feature Level in the Municipal License Administrator

If your organization has a SELECT OpenAccess or Cloud Service Subscription, all possible feature levels will be available. For example if you own a perpetual license of WaterCAD 1000 pipes but have a need to work on a 1200 pipe model, a higher feature level (pipe limit) can be used. The Feature Level Selector enables you to select the feature level that the product will use (and record license usage against) when using the product. You can choose between perpetual license feature levels that you own, or subscription-based feature levels that will incur a term license usage charge.

Using the Feature Level Selector

If you own only a single feature level for the product you are opening, it will be selected for you automatically and you will not need to use the Feature Level Selector. For example you may have all possible WaterCAD feature levels available to you through an OpenAccess subscription, but if you only own a three seat license of the "1000 pipes, AutoCAD" WaterCAD license, it will be selected for you. If you need to choose a different feature level, see "Changing the Feature Level" below.

If you own multiple feature levels of the product, or if you do not own any, but have feature levels available to you from your subscription (ex: SELECT OpenAccess or ELS), the Feature Level Selector will appear when first opening the product: Click the "Select" button next to the feature level that you would like to use, then click the Done button to open the product. 


  • Clearly indicates which feature levels are perpetual licenses that your organization owns, versus other feature levels that are available to you via a subscription
  • If the user selects a feature level that is not owned, they will see an alert explaining that it can incur a term license charge
  • The number of owned licenses is clearly shown, and by default the list will be filtered to show only those licenses (unless there are no owned licenses).
  • Only appears if a selection actually needs to be made. if you only own one distinct feature level, the product will not bother you with this tool and will select that feature level automatically.


A - The user account currently using the product. When the feature level is set, it will be set for this user account. For help, see: Bentley user registration - Connected User setup

B - This dropdown menu enables you to filter the type of feature levels displayed in the table. By default, it will show Perpetual licenses, to help guide you toward selecting your owned, perpetual license, while still enabling you to select a higher, subscription-based feature level if you need to (and accept that you will receive a term license).

  • Show Perpetual Licenses (default) - Select this if you only want to see feature levels that your organization has at least one perpetual license of. Meaning, licenses that you own. This should be selected unless you have a special need to use a product or feature level that you do not own a license for (and incur a term licenses for it).
  • Show Subscription-based Licenses - when selected, the list will show only feature levels that your organization has available to you because of a subscription such as SELECT OpenAccess. This has the distinct benefit of enabling you to access elevated feature levels and products that you do not own, without having to go through procurement. However, care must be taken to 
  • Show all licenses - when selected, all available licenses will show, including those that your organization owns perpetual licenses of, and those that are available as part of a subscription.

C - Perpetual (owned) licenses are shown in bold font.

D - You can sort and filter the list of license feature levels if needed. When opening the Feature Level Selector from within the License Tool, a Product column will also be displayed, with a sort/filter available.

E - The "Licenses" column indicates the number of perpetual licenses owned of a respective feature level.

F - Click the "Select" button to select a feature level that you want to use. When selected, the button will display as blue with "Selected".

  • You may be prompted if you would like to check if the feature level is available. This allows you to check if your license administrator has restricted your permissions, or if a threshold was set and all licenses are currently in use. If you need to choose a different feature level because of the result of this check, you will have the opportunity to do so.
  • If you select a perpetual license feature level, the "Done" button will be highlighted, which you click to finish the feature level selection process and open the application.
  • If you select a feature level that your organization does not own a perpetual license of, you will be presented with a reminder that a term license charge will be incurred if you use it. (see below)

G - Once you have selected a feature level, the "Done" button becomes available, as the final step of the process. When clicked, the Feature Level Selector will close and the product will attempt to open with that feature level. The next step is to check for General Access and Concurrent use Thresholds (see below)

H - The "contact us" button directs you to the form to request more licenses (for example if you need to purchase a license or subscription to gain access to a higher feature level. The "Help" button links to the following article for general help: Licensing OpenFlows products - Subscription Entitlement Service (CONNECT Licensing)

License Availability Check (General Access and Concurrent Use Threshold Alerts)

When choosing to "Select" a feature level in the Feature Level Selector ('F' above), you may be prompted if you would like to check if the feature level is available. Choose "Yes" to check if your license administrator has restricted your permissions ("General Access" settings), or if a threshold was set (concurrent use threshold alerts) and all licenses are currently in use (these are configured in Entitlement Management.) This check should only take a few additional seconds, and gives you the opportunity to select another feature level if needed (since the Feature Level Selector will still be open.) Otherwise if the license is not available, you would need to re-open the Feature Level Selector (see "Changing the Feature Level" below) in order to choose another feature level.

Note: this prompt will not appear if you have accessed the Feature Level Selector from within the Bentley Licensing Tool (separate tool/shortcut)

An "Access Denied" message box indicates that your administrator has restricted your access to this particular feature level (but not necessarily other feature levels for the product you are trying to use). Dismiss this message box to return to the Feature Level Selector, to select another feature level for that product, if available. Contact your license Administrator (typically in your IT or Helpdesk) if you believe that you should have access.

A "License Information" message box that indicates that your license administrator has set a threshold on the number of concurrent usages of that particular feature level, and all licenses are currently in use by other users. This often means that if you continue and open the product, your organization will incur usage charges. This may be acceptable during times when multiple users need to be working in the software, in which case you can click the "acknowledge" button. This records the event and may alert the license administrator to your choice. When this appears during the availability check in the Feature Level Selector (see above), "acknowledge" results in the feature level being selected, after which you can click "Done" and open the product. You may encounter a second instance of this dialog box when doing so.



  • A minimal amount of usage (a few seconds, typically) may appear in the license usage logs as a result of this "check" (even if the end user did not end up using that particular feature level.) This usage is filtered out (omitted) for billing considerations.
  • If you have multiple feature levels and one is in use but you want to choose another one, the feature level selector will not automatically appear. Click "cancel and quit" on the prompt, then open the Feature Level Selector from the Start menu, change the feature level and reopen the product. 

Selecting Subscription-based (Non-Owned) Feature Levels

If you select a subscription-based feature level (one you do not own a perpetual license of), you will be presented with the following warning about usage charge implications. This is an extra measure to ensure that the end user understands the implications of selecting such a feature level.

There may be cases where you want to take advantage of the benefits of your subscription and accept that you may receive a term license charge (for SELECT OpenAccess) for the use of the feature level you need.

If you click OK, the feature level will be selected and you can click "Done" to complete the feature level selection process and start the application.

If you click Cancel, the feature level will NOT be selected and you must select another feature level before the "Done" button becomes available.

Note: that for users with an Enterprise License Subscription (ELS), all feature levels will be available by default and all may show as being subscription-based, with the above message appearing when you select one. This is expected in a case where your organization only has licenses through their ELS subscription, with no perpetual licenses owned. Billing is based on yearly usage. The message is hidden for ELS users starting with CONNECTION Client version , included in version 10.02.03.XX of the OpenFlows products.

It is recommended that Administrators implement General Access settings (these are configured in Entitlement Management) to enable only the feature levels that end users should be using. For end users, please contact your administrator to confirm which feature level you should select. 

Changing the Feature Level

If you own more than one distinct feature level of the product, or if you have a subscription that enables you to access other, non-owned feature levels (for example from a SELECT OpenAccess subscription), you can return to the Feature Level Selector tool to change the feature level that the product will use (and record license usage against). 

You may have a need to change the feature level if you are encountering a message on opening the product that states that your access is denied, or that a concurrent use threshold was reached (the feature level selector will not automatically open). Or, you may need to work on a model that has more elements (pipes, inlets, ponds, etc) than your current feature level allows.

The feature level can be changed from the Feature Level Selector, which you can access from the Start menu - type "Feature Level Selector" and click the shortcut that appears. You can also access the Feature Level Selector from within the product under File > Help > License Management > Tools > Select Feature Level (be sure to restart the application after making any changes to the feature level)

Determining Currently Set Feature Levels

Normally to see what your feature level is set to, you can open the File > Help > About in the product or open the Feature Level Selector, or view the usage log information (see link below for "monitoring...")

However if you have a need to check what the feature level is from some type of monitoring system, without opening the product or the feature level selector itself, you can do so by looking at the license database file where the feature level setting is stored. 

  1. Install a SQLITE browsing application such as SQLITE Expert Personal
  2. On the Windows user profile in question, navigate to C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Bentley\Licensing\
  3. Locate the file named LicenseService.db and open it in your SQLITE viewing application.
  4. Open the table named "Settings" - this will show one row for each product that has a feature level set, with the corresponding feature string. Note that modifying this table is not supported by Bentley.

The four-digit number at the end of the "Key" field determines the product, as shown in the table below.


Can the Feature Level be set remotely or by command line, by an Administrator?

Versions that use the Subscription Entitlement Services (SES) licensing (10.02.XX.XX and greater) do not currently have a way to set the feature level by command line (and the selected feature level is not associated with the Windows account but also the user who signs in to the CONNECTION Client), but improvements to feature level selection as described above have reduced the need for this.


For help with problems with the Feature Level Selector, see the "troubleshooting "section at the bottom of the first article in the "See also" section below. Below is a brief list of some problems specific to the Feature Level Selector interface:

  1. Feature Level Selector does not appear - this is normal if you only have one owned feature level - confirm the "Size" in-product under File > Help > About
  2. Expected Feature levels do not display, or some display twice - this may be a refresh/visual issue. Try re-opening the Feature Level Selector
  3. The "Features" column in the Feature Level Selector is missing the word "Standalone" and is showing a comma instead - this is a known issue - Standalone is always included.

See Also

Licensing OpenFlows products - Subscription Entitlement Service (CONNECT Licensing)

Monitoring License Usage - Subscription Entitlement Service (CONNECT Licensing)