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OST - 01.02 Licensing On-Screen Takeoff (Unlocking Full Functionality)

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Before you can use many of the functions of On-Screen Takeoff (such as: creating Conditions, drawing/editing Takeoff, using Areas, etc.), you will need to activate a license.

Anytime you launch the product in "unlicensed mode", you see the Welcome screen.

OST License Assistant (Welcome Screen)

There are three choices:

  • Activate License - if your organization has purchased a license for you and you wish to apply it to this machine.
  • Activate a Trial License - if you have been provided a license code for a limited time trial of the product.
  • Continue in FREE, PlanViewer Mode - allows you to use the product in "no license" mode for viewing plans and annotation
If you are unsure which option to choose, just click "Continue in Free, PlanViewer Mode" - you can always apply a license later.


If you have downloaded the free PlanViewer (which does not require a license), continue on to Quick Start Wizards, in Related Articles.

Licensing On-Screen Takeoff

If you need assistance with licensing your software, please contact Support.

There are two ways for your company to distribute the product licenses it owns:

  • A License Key looks like this: "OST+a0fe3-d4848-3840b-6a6c8-fe068" (25 characters, separated by hyphens, with a Product Prefix and a plus sign (+)). License Keys can be single-seat (one Key per person) or multi-count (one Key for multiple people). Each Product/Feature you own would have a separate License Key issued (if you own 10 On-Screen Takeoff, 10 Quick Bid, and 10 Digital Production Control PM licenses, you may be issued three keys, or thirty, depending on how you choose to setup your licenses).
  • A Server Code looks like this: "OST@98A8PGZA493Z" (shorter, no spaces or hyphens, with a Product prefix and an "@" symbol). A Server Code is a cloud-based license manager for a single product. All your licenses for a single Product/Feature are set up under one Server Code - so if you own three products, we issue your company three Server Codes so you can control who is able to license which Products/Features.

What's the difference between a License Key and a Server Code?

  • A License Key is activated on a machine, and it is there until the user puts it back (returns it). License Keys are validated over the internet each time the program is opened.
  • A Server Code can be floated or borrowed.
    • When floated, the license is checked out (automatically) when the program opens and is put back when the program closes - automatically. The next time the user open the program, it automatically attempts to retrieve a license from the server - the user doesn't need to do anything unless there are no licenses available at that time (other users have already floated or borrowed all available seats). The user must remain connected to the internet to float a license.
    • When borrowed, the license is allocated to the user's computer for 7 days. He or she can disconnect from the internet completely for up to 7 days. At the end of 7 days, the license simply expires and is removed from the computer and restored to the license pool on the Server. The user simply needs to connect to the internet and borrow a license again (for up to 7 days again). The user can return a borrowed license anytime they want, provided, of course, they are connected to the internet.

License Keys (local and License Manager) and Server Codes are retrieved from the Customer Portal - see What is the Co-Branded Customer Portal? for details. If you do not have access to the portal, please contact the Billing or Technical contact at your company for assistance - On Center personnel cannot provide License Keys or Server Codes.

When On-Screen Takeoff is not authorized, a message in the bottom right corner of the program shows "no license". After activating a license, this area shows which licenses have been applied (OST, DPC_FM, DPC_PM, or any combination thereof).

Multiple License Keys/Server Codes

Your company is issued a separate License Key or Server Code for each Product/Feature/Service you own. Each Key/Code must be activated separately to license that feature/product in your installation.

For example you may be issued one or more of the following Keys/Codes:


License Key
Server Code Prefix
What it activates
 OST+ or OST@ On-Screen Takeoff core functionality (takeoff)
 BOOST+ (local only for v.1) Takeoff Boost - an add-on service that performs Artificial Intelligence-powered automatic takeoff
 DPC-PM+ or  DPC-PM@ Digital Production Control Project Manager - track labor production in real time
 DPC-FM+  DPC-FM@ Digital Production Control Foreman - track labor production on-site

Activating Your License

Anytime you open the product when it doesn't have a license, you will be greeted by the Welcome prompt

OST License Assistant (Welcome Screen)
On-Screen Takeoff and  Digital Production Control

Select Activate License, or, if the program is already open, click File > Check Authorization to open the licensing screen.

OST License Activation dialog box (unlicensed)

Enter your License Key or Server Code in the box.

Click Validate

  • If this is a License Key, your license is activated (it may take up to a minute) and then you can close this dialog box.
  • If this is a Server Code, you are given the option to "borrow" a license for offline use. You may borrow a license for 7 days, but remember, when you borrow a license, it is removed from the pool of licenses for 7 days and won't be available to any other users, even if you close the program. Why would you want to borrow a license? Good question - when you borrow a license, you can disconnect from the internet completely - great for job site work where you may not have an internet connection.

OST - server code validated

Click Activate.

Once Activated, features such as On-Screen Takeoff and Digital Production Control Project Manager along with product maintenance are displayed.

OST - server code activated

To see details about a license, click the little plus sign next to it (shown in the screenshot).

Click Close to close the Check Authorization dialog and apply the license(s) to the application.

When you close the Check Authorization dialog box, your activated Features display in the bottom right of the application (the Status Bar) - this indicates that the program is properly authorized and ready to use.

Returning A License

Let us say you activate your license on your work computer, but need to use it at home over the weekend, or a coworker needs to use it for some time. You must "return" your license so it can be used on a different device. 

To Return a License, 

  • Open the Check Authorization dialog again (click File > Check Authorization)
  • Select the license in the "Your active licenses" box,
  • Click the Return button

If you are using a Server Code and have not borrowed the license, when you close On-Screen Takeoff, your license is returned to the pool automatically (the program does this in the background). The next time you launch the program, it tries to get a new license for you from the same server, again, automatically. The only time you have to "Return" a Server Code license is if you want to work in "no license" mode and let someone else use the license.

Reactivating a License You Previously Activated

The programs store the last few License Keys, Server Codes, and License Managers from which you were successfully able to retrieve a license.

OST License Activation dialog box - recently activated licenses

In OST they are grouped by Feature (OST, DPC_FM, DPC_PM). Just select whichever license you want to use and click "Validate", like usual.

Common Reasons for Authorization Failure

  • Incorrect License Key or Server Code (we recommend you copy/paste - rather than trying to type these in - if possible)
  • No Internet connection (an internet connection is required to activate License Keys or Server Codes)
  • Firewall blocking network communication (see Related articles for more information on configuring your firewall)
  • Attempting to activate a License Key for a different product (you cannot activate a Quick Bid license through On-Screen Takeoff and vice versa)
  • Attempting to activate an old "Activation Key" for versions released prior to 12/31/2017 - check MyOnCenter.com for your up-to-date keys
If you open an "interactive" Bid while On-Screen Takeoff or Quick Bid is unlicensed, you will break the interactive connection. Please see the Quick Bid documentation for instructions on reconnecting bids.
If you have any problems activating your software, review CLS - Licensing Issues. If you still are unable to license your software, please contact Support. Have your customer information and License Key or Server Code handy.

Opting in/out of Data Analytics

When you first launch On-Screen Takeoff 3.98.05 (and newer versions), you are prompted to Opt-in to generalized program usage data gathering.

To comply with the European Union's GDPR and California's Consumer Protection Act, we currently automatically opt residents of those two regions out of data analytics. At this time, we prefer not to gather these users' data until we can create a better workflow for purging data.

The data we gather allows our Product team to understand the features customers use most often so we can target those for improvement. We never gather bid or information about your projects, bids, plans, or estimators. We do, however, gather information about your computer, to help aggregate data.

If you change your mind, you can adjust your settings in the Tools > Options > Analytics tab.

OST - options dialog box - analtyics tab

Check or uncheck the option to allow the program to gather data on how you use it, or not.

Using a version older than

If you are using a previous version of On-Screen Takeoff ( or older), you will be asked to register the product before you can continue.

OST Registration Screen

Older versions of On-Screen Takeoff are not compliant with the GDPR or CCPA and we recommend upgrading to the latest version. See the Product Information Page for latest/current release.

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Product documentation (user guides) describes functionality in the latest version of each major release and may not match the functionality in the version you are using. Please check the Product Information and Downloads pages by clicking one of the product buttons above.

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