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From time to time we receive emails from companies asking if they are (really) allowed to use ARIS Express for commercial projects. It seems they are surprised to receive such comprehensive software free of charge. Let’s take a closer look at the answer to this question.

If you install ARIS Express, you are asked to confirm the license agreement. This agreement doesn’t distinguish between private or commercial use of ARIS Express, so it applies to both cases. Of course this license agreement contains a lot of legal verbiage, but in the end it boils done to few constraints:

  1. Each user must register his copy of ARIS Express at ARIS Community. Registration is free of charge.
  2. You are not allowed to sell ARIS Express.

The first point is a bit more complicated. Consider you are a university and want to provide ARIS Express to all your students. It is not allowed that you install ARIS Express for them and use a single ARIS Community account to register the installations. Instead, you can install it for them but during first startup each student must register his version using his own ARIS Community account. So it is totally fine to use ARIS Express in your university course or your BPM project as long as every member using the software registers his copy using his own ARIS Community account. If you stick to this rule, ARIS Express is free of charge for commercial projects, too.

The second point is straight-forward. ARIS Express is free of charge, so don’t take money for it. For example, you can give the installation file of ARIS Express to someone else, but don’t charge for it. If you want to put the installation file of ARIS Express on a commercial download server or a shareware collection, please contact us first to get our permission.

So, yes you can use ARIS Express in commercial projects, too! If you have additional questions about usage terms of ARIS Express, don’t hesitate to ask by posting your questions in the comments below.

Important note: In this post I try to explain the most important rules of the license agreement of ARIS Express. Still, my post is not legally binding, but instead you must comply with the license agreement shown during ARIS Express installation.

by Bob M
Posted on Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:19

Am I correct in assuming that should IDS make the licensing terms for ARIS Express more restrictive (eg start charging for it), go out of business or stop releasing it for any reason, the software would effectively become useless to users overnight, or until their PC's running ARIS Express fail (due to the license restriction on transferring the software to other machines).

This would make long term reliance on the software (albeit free, but not open source), a risk.

Any organisation needs to understand the value of their software, once the supplier is no longer around.  And preferably have assurances of that position prior to it happening.

by Sebastian Stein Author
Posted on Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:43

Hi Bob,

thanks for bringing up those important points. It is true that we have the right to discontinue ARIS Express. On the other hand, it will not happen that we start charging for ARIS Express. In those cases, please consider that IDS Scheer/Software AG is a professional global company and not just a minor player in the BPM market. If we discontinue ARIS Express, we will provide a meaningful upgrade path to similar offerings so that work by our users is not lost.

by Celso Bielski
Posted on Thu, 10/14/2010 - 20:38

Hello Sebastian

" title> " title>Interesting post this.

" title>Following the example you cited the university, where a private organization can install the Express Aris with a single account and, for example, provide the software on an intranet page?

" title>There are limits users to access the software with the same account?

" title>Thank's


by Sebastian Stein Author
Posted on Thu, 10/14/2010 - 21:25

Hi Celso,

no, it is never permitted to use a single account for multiple installations or an installation, which is accessed by multiple users. The license terms make no difference between private and commercial use, so all rules apply to both entities.

So yes, there is a limit of how many users may access the software with a single account. The limit is exactly 1.

by Shankar Ganesh
Posted on Fri, 10/15/2010 - 14:10

Hi Sebastian -- Incase I want to use ARIS Express on my Business Laptop / Desktop and also on my Personal Laptop / Desktop (at home)?...

  • Can that be done using a single ARIS Community account 


  • would that require 2 separate ARIS Community accounts (which is very very inconvenient)?
by Sebastian Stein Author
Posted on Fri, 10/15/2010 - 14:18

Hi Shankar,

in that case you only need one ARIS Community account, because we say one account per individual using ARIS Express is needed.

by Shankar Ganesh
Posted on Fri, 10/15/2010 - 14:42

Thanks Sebastian -- that clarification is much appreciated :-)

by Vladimir Abreu
Posted on Tue, 01/04/2011 - 14:56

Hi Sebastian,

I have two questions:

1) Is there any limit of how many models / objects can be created inside ARIS Express ?

2) Can I export a model created in ARIS Express to another person who uses a full (or more complete) ARIS Version ?

Thanks in advance,


by Anja Dähne
Posted on Thu, 01/13/2011 - 08:53

In reply to by Anjali DP



i have the same question: it´s possible to export models created in ARIS Express to a full ARIS Version ?



Thanks and regards,



by Sebastian Stein Author
Posted on Thu, 01/13/2011 - 09:03

Hi Vladimir and Anja,

ARIS Express has no built-in limitation in terms of number of models or objects. But I expect that at some point you will run out of space, because the canvas size is limited. But from a technical point of view it should be no problem to add 10,000 objects to a single model.

ARIS Express stores its content in so called ADF files. You can either send those files to someone else also using ARIS Express or you can upload them into our professional products like ARIS Business Architect. In fact, this is already done by some organisations to collect input from departments about their business processes before they consolidate it in a central repository.

by Celso Bielski
Posted on Wed, 02/02/2011 - 18:04

In reply to by crmenezes


I can not import models constructed in Aris Express for the Aris Architect on a machine that does not have the Aris Express installed?


by Sebastian Stein Author
Posted on Thu, 02/03/2011 - 06:58

Hi Celso,

the import should work without ARIS Express installed. It is probably related to a different problem.

by Aswin Bhojarajan
Posted on Fri, 01/06/2012 - 07:59

Hi Sebastian,

We significantly use the Commercial Version of ARIS at our firm and for our clients.. And it is only logical that we use ARIS express as the offline editor, and as a replacement for Visio.. and to promote ARIS and familiarize users with the standards and features of ARIS..

I understand that the current licensing doesnt allow more than 1 user using the same account.. But this is a significant bottleneck in us promoting the use of ARIS Express .. whilst the registration might be only a 5min effort.. but from a user perspective why would they want to take the extra effort, when they already have MS Visio installed.. 

Is there a contact i could reach out to for further deliberation on this? (my personal email address is




by Sebastian Stein Author
Posted on Fri, 01/06/2012 - 08:22

Hi Ash,

I contacted you by email.

Posted on Fri, 05/02/2014 - 19:51

Hi, AG Team!

My name is Antonio and i work in a federal government entity in Brazil.

I'd like to install and use the free ARIS Express app on my job desktop for running internal projects and normal activities of processes modeling in the entity's areas/departments.

Could you please objectively confirm that we are allowed to instal and use this app (and related ARIS Community accounts per each user/installation) with the exclusive purpose mentioned above having no apparent problems of violating any prohibited commercial use situation referred in the software terms of use (

Thanks in advance!


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