CATIA V5 Admin Mode, Part 1: Setting Up

July 8, 2021 Iouri Apanovitch

Running CATIA in admin mode can be used for the following tasks:

  • To set up a global (usually locked) set of CATIA settings and options, in order to enforce company-wide design standards among all end-users
  • To create and administer customized drafting standards and drawing view styles

In this post, I will explain how to set up and run CATIA in admin mode in general, as well as how to lock options and settings for the end-users.

In the follow-up blog posts, I will explain how to use the admin mode to customize and administer company-specific drafting standards and generative view styles.

The relationship between the global (i.e., company-wide) and the end-user environment and settings is shown in the diagram below:

  • The global environment file (CATEnv), global CATSettings, and custom drafting standards are stored in a read-only location and must be accessible from all end-user CATIA workstations. The files are managed by the CAD administrator, running CATIA in admin mode
  • The global CATEnv contains environment variables that reference the locations of the global settings and custom drafting standards
  • All end-user CATIA start-up commands must point to the global CATEnv, through which the end-user CATIA sessions can access the global settings and drafting standards

To set up CATIA in admin mode, several steps must be taken.

The 1st step is to ensure that all end-user CATIA start-up commands point to the same (i.e., global) CATIA environment file. A typical CATIA start-up command (right-click on the CATIA startup icon and select Properties to see it) looks as following (V5-6R2017 shown as an example):

Create a read-only global environment directory, accessible from all end-user CATIA workstations, copy the environment file into that directory, and edit CATIA start-up commands for all end-users, so they point to that global environment directory and file.

The 2nd step is to set two variables in the global environment file. You could use CATIA’s Environment Editor () to do that, or just as well you can use any text editor, such as Notepad, to edit the file. Below, I will use Notepad to set the variables.

The first environment variable that must be set up is CATReferenceSettingPath. The CATReferenceSettingPath defines the path to the directory that stores the global, i.e. locked, CATSettings.

Open the environment file in Notepad, locate the line that contains the CATReferenceSettingPath variable, and edit it so now it points to the directory that will contain all the global CATSettings, such as in the example shown below.

The second environment variable (CATCollectionStandard) is optional. You must set the value for the CATCollectionStandard variable only if you intend to create and manage custom drafting standards, and I will explain how to do that in my next post.

Next, create the actual directory on your hard drive, with the path as defined in the CATReferenceSettingPath variable.

Finally, you need to create a startup command to run CATIA in admin mode.

Create a copy of the shortcut that starts CATIA in non-admin mode and rename it appropriately, for example “CATIA V5-6R2017 admin”. Right-click the new shortcut icon and select Properties. Modify the Target field, so it reads similarly to shown below (V5-6R2017 shown as an example).

Now, start CATIA using the new shortcut. On startup, CATIA should display a message telling you that it runs in admin mode. If it does not, then double-check the startup shortcut.

The admin mode should be also indicated in CATIA’s caption bar.

Select Tools > Options. Note that all the options display the green lock symbol  by their side.

Clicking the green lock symbol changes its color to amber. This means that the option is now locked for all end-users.

In the end-user’s CATIA session, the locked options will display with the red lock symbol.


That is all for now, but stay tuned! In my next post, I will be explaining how to use CATIA’s admin mode to customize drafting standards.

About the Author

Iouri Apanovitch

Senior Technical Training Engineer<br><br>As a senior member of the Rand 3D team with a doctorate degree in Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and over 35 years of experience, Iouri provides design, consulting, and training services to those in the aerospace, automotive, electronics, and consumer goods industries. Iouri is a seasoned pro in 3D parametric design and prototyping using knowledge-based engineering methods, and has worked on a wide range of projects including BOM automation, CMM points generation, automated 3D annotation creation, and die tooling automation design. He is also a sought-after instructor and holds the designations of both CATIA Certified Professional (Expert level) and CATIA Certified Instructor.

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