Getting started with PLCnext Engineer

The PLCnext Engineer software is required for starting up your PLCnext Control. 

Field of application

Configure, diagnose and visualize your entire automation solution with the PLCnext Engineer software. Furthermore, you can use PLCnext Engineer to program and configure your application according to IEC 61131-3. In addition or as an alternative to the programming languages specified in IEC 61131-3, you can also use the C++ or MATLAB®/Simulink® programming languages. The individual programs or program parts can be programmed in any development environment (e.g., Eclipse®, Microsoft® Visual Studio®, etc.). Then import the programs or program parts into PLCnext Engineer as a library.

Installing PLCnext Engineer

The basic software version can be downloaded free-of-charge at the PLCnext Engineer product page of the Phoenix Contact website. 

  • Download the software onto your PC.
  • Double-click the *.exe file to start installation.
  • Follow the instructions in the installation wizard.

Hardware requirements

Make sure that you install a version of the PLCnext Engineer software that suits your needs regarding software features

For working with all the current PLCnext Engineer features, firmware release 2020.0 LTS or newer on your PLCnext Control device is necessary. For AXC F 1152AXC F 3152, and RFC 4072R even the initial release suffices. To update AXC F 2152 or RFC 4072S firmware, see the Firmware update instructions.

If working with a former PLCnext Engineer release is necessary for a reason, check the Software Archive section of the PLCnext Engineer product page and download the suitable package.

Licensing PLCnext Engineer

The basic functions of PLCnext Engineer are available as a free-of-charge license. Once installed, these functions are available without limitation and will stay free of charge.

Further functions can be added for a fee (even at a later stage). The licenses are bound to the hardware of a PC or a USB dongle. To order further licenses, proceed as follows:

  • Go to the PLCnext Engineer product page (item no. 1046008)
  • Log in to the Phoenix Contact eShop with your credentials (or register if not done yet).
  • Select Configure on the PLCnext Engineer product page to configure your personal license.

Once you have sent your order, within 48 hours you will receive an email from Phoenix Contact that contains a ticket ID. You need the ticket ID to activate the license.

The Phoenix Contact Activation Wizard is used for the activation process of licenses for further functions. The Phoenix Contact Activation Wizard is a part of the PLCnext Engineer installation package. In order to start the application you will find an .exe-file under the installation path (Default path: C:\Program Files (x86)\Phoenix Contact\Phoenix Contact Activation Wizard\).

The USB dongle ESL STICK USB A (item no. 1080084) for saving licenses for various software products is delivered without licenses. The Phoenix Contact Activation Wizard is also used for the activation process of USB dongle licenses.

  •  To activate a license, follow the instructions in the Phoenix Contact Activation Wizard.

Using PLCnext Engineer

Getting started with PLCnext Engineer is made easier by these media:

Tip: Starting with release 2022.0 LTS, the PLCnext Engineer embedded help is also online available.

 Help for the English user interface:

 Hilfe für die deutsche Benutzeroberfläche:



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• Published/reviewed: 2023-11-28 • Revision 062 •