Let’s demystify some of the settings in your environment file. We will show you how  to leverage this knowledge into managing a multi-user environment to ensure that everyone has the same settings on dimension arrows, threads etc, and access to one common documentation installation. With these examples you should be able to go further and create a customized environment optimized for you day-to-day tasks for all users.


Environment file

The environment file is normally located in the folder: C:\ProgramData\DassaultSystemes\CatEnv. Please note that C:\ProgramData is a hidden folder, but can be accessed by writing correct path into file explorer or make hidden items visible.

Figure 1 - Windows file explorer, showing hidden items

Figure 1 – Windows file explorer, showing hidden items

If you are a backup guy, take a backup of your default environment file just in case…. Open it with your favorite text editor, like notepad++. Your file will look something like this:

Figure 2 - The environment file, showing runtime variables

Figure 2 – The environment file, showing runtime variables

When using -admin mode in your shortcut (see a former tip in this blog (Brief introduction to settings in your Catia start icon)), you must set CATReferenceSettingPath to a location which only administrators have write access to. Other users must have read access. This can look like: CATReferenceSettingPath=\\MyCommonServer\AdminPath, here shown with UNC notation.

When you are starting in admin mode, you will see the following message:

Figure 3 - Adminstration mode

Figure 3 – Adminstration mode

If you don’t get this message, you are probably not running in admin mode. Check your shortcut settings and your location of -admin.

As administrator, you are able to force settings to other users. Below you can see a screen dump, forcing “no automatic backup” and “Microsoft windows netmeeting” to users. First dump shows how it looks like as an administrator, and next shows how users will see it.

Figure 4 - Catia->Tools->Option running in Admin mode

Figure 4 – Catia->Tools->Option running in Admin mode

Figure 5: Catia->Tools->Option running in user mode, inheriting admin settings

Figure 5: Catia->Tools->Option running in user mode, inheriting admin settings

All runtime variables below here, can be found in the environment file


In environment file, you will find a parameter called CATReffilesPath. This gives the location to reference files such as ISO.XML, MetricThickPitch.txt and MetricThinPitch.txt. If you are running a multiuser environment, it is possible to copy those folders to a common network location to ensure everybody to have the same settings on dimension arrows, threads etc. You can also define a company standard range of metric threads by changing MetricThin/ThickPitch.txt or even add your own range. You just have to remember that some of those files will be changed during Catia upgrade, so you have to upgrade those files also. Settings could look like this:



If you are running several installations/versions of Catia, you will observe that licenses used in last session is used in next session, even if you are running a different installation level. Also your toolbars will have default location. That is because the environment file is pointing to same location independent of versions. A default path like this is found:


CSIDL_APPDATA is windows default location for users’ application data, such as: C:\Users\[MyUser]\AppData\Roaming\

By creating a unique folder for each installation, you can separate your data, like this: CATUserSettingPath=CSIDL_APPDATA\DassaultSystemes\CATSettings\V5-6R2016P2

The following info may be to your help:

Variable Common settings
CSIDL_APPDATA C:\Users\[User]\AppData\Roaming
CSIDL_LOCAL_APPDATA C:\Users\[User]\AppData\Local
CSIDL_PERSONAL C:\Users\[User]\Documents


This runtime variable set the location for help files. If you don’t want to install help files on each computer, it’s possible to set this to a common location. Or if you are running several versions and don’t want to install help for each version, you can address this variable to the same location.

Also temp files, error log files and reports can be set individually in each environment file.

Hope this will give you an idea of what is possible and I encourage you to create different environment files, to explore your options and taking benefit of the possibilities lying in your software.

For a complete overview of all runtime variables in the environment file, see below:

This is valid up to V5-6R2015 and can be found in Catia V5 help file.

Variable Name Description Introduced in Release..
PATH Executable code search path V5R1
LIBPATH Library search path (AIX) V5R1
CATInstallPath Installation path V5R1
CATDLLPath DLL search path (internal use only); on Windows, DLLs are loaded from the directories referenced by the variables CATDLLPath and PATH (Windows mechanism). V5R1
CATICPath Search path for product identification (internal use) V5R1
CATCommandPath Command search path V5R1
CATDictionaryPath Library dictionary search path V5R1
CATDocView Online documentation search path V5R1
CATReffilesPath Reference file search path V5R1
CATFontPath Font search path V5R1
CATGalaxyPath Search path for User Galaxy online information files V5R1
CATGraphicPath Graphic and icon search path V5R1
CATMsgCatalogPath Application message file search path V5R1
CATKnowledgePath Knowledge search path indicating the location where Knowledge resources have to be searched for while using an application. It can point to a concatenation of directories containing the knowledge Structure. V5R16
CATFeatureCatalogPath .OSM file search path V5R2
CATDefaultCollectionStandard Default standard collection path V5R9
CATStartupPath Sample file search path V5R1
CATW3ResourcesPath ENOVIA Portal search path pointing to HTTP resources visible to ENOVIA Portal clients; set by default to CATInstallPath/docs ENOVIA V5R4
CATReconcilePath file path where the Reconciliator will find customization definition for Criterion or Global Set
CATReferenceSettingPath Default reference setting search path; also used to store settings locked by the administrator V5R1
CATUserSettingPath Permanent user setting search path V5R1
CATCollectionStandard Standard collection path V5R9
CATTemp Temporary user setting search path V5R1
CATMetasearchPath ENOVIA 3d com search path pointing to location where ENOVIA 3d com MetaSearch stores data required for metasearch engine operation. ENOVIA V5R4
CATW3PublishPath ENOVIA Portal search path pointing to location for storing HTML documents created by the ENOVIA Portal Snapshot command. ENOVIA V5R4
CATSharedWorkbookPath Points to shared workbooks for ENOVIA Portal ENOVIA V5R8
CATErrorLog Error log search path: points to the default files error.log, SessionInfo and AbendTrace files. The syntax is, for example, on Windows:
The error log file will be:
%CATTemp%\error.logYou can deactivate the creation of error.log, SessionInfo and AbendTrace files by setting CATErrorLog to the special value OFF (UPPERCASE only) like this:
CATReport Conversion trace report location V5R2
USER_HOME Points to home directory of generic user for server-type ENOVIAV5VPM environments ENOVIA V5R12
DB2INSTANCE DB2 environment variable (for server-type environments only)
TNS_ADMIN TNS environment variable (for server-type environments only)
ORACLE_HOME ORACLE environment variable (for server-type environments only); on Windows, set by the PLMDBSetup process
For the DB2INSTANCE, TNS_ADMIN and ORACLE_HOME variables, in an installation using CATIA and VPM interoperability, you should create these variables using the Environment Editor, depending on which database you are using.
ORA_NLS33 ORACLE environment variable (for server-type environments only); on Windows, set by the PLMDBSetup process
Java runtime path specified at installation ENOVIA V5R8
JDBC classpath for ENOVIAV5VPM server ENOVIA V5R8