Sequence Analysis Tools for Molecular Biologists

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MacVector Support


Visit our forums where you can discuss MacVector-related issues with our staff and other users.


Short videos with tips, techniques and useful information on using MacVector.

Tutorials and downloads

Tutorials, updated restriction enzyme files, utilities and other useful downloads.


We often tour the USA or Europe presenting free workshops on the use of MacVector. While many are private, we do have public workshops that anyone can attend.

Contact us

To communicate with a live human body knowledgable in all technical aspects of MacVector and Assembler, please call or email:

US and worldwide (except Europe)

(919) 303-7450

(866) 338-0222


+44 (0) 1223 410 552

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Why is MacVector running in Free mode? I should have a valid license!

If you start MacVector and you see this dialog;


or if you try to run a function in the Analyze or Database menu and you get a dialog like this;


then MacVector is running in "Free" mode. This means that either;

a) You have been running a trial version, or a version that has a specific expiration date like a Student license or a Site license, and the expiration date has passed.


b) You have a perpetual license, but the license is old and it will not allow you to run a more recent version because your maintenance has expired.

When running in Free mode, you can open, edit, print and save all MacVector documents. You can even continue to make simple constructs by <shift>-clicking on restriction sites and using copy and paste functionality. In addition, the Entrez and BLAST functionality is still enabled. However, all of the Analyze functions and some of the Database functions are now disabled. For a full description of the functionality available in the Free version, please follow this link.

If you believe you have encountered one of these dialogs in error, and that your license should entitle you to run a fully functional version of MacVector, the most common problem is that you have not entered the most recent activation code sent to you or your network administrator. Typically, when MacVector is purchased it comes with a 12-month maintenance contract, ensuring that you are entitled to run all MacVector releases and bug fixes for the next year. If you or your school/department/company renews maintenance, you will be sent an updated license with the same owner name and serial number, but with a different activation code. Embedded in that activation code is the information that MacVector needs in order to know if you are entitled to run updated versions. This license information is usually sent via e-mail.

If you are the primary contact for your license, then you should look in your e-mail (or spam folder!) for an e-mail titled "MacVector Maintenance Contract Renewal", "Your MacVector License", "Your MacVector PostDoc License" or Your MacVector Student License" depending on the type of license you have. These are always sent from the address "". If you are not the main point of contact, you should contact your lab manager or IT department and ask them for the details. Once you have the updated activation code in hand, you can simply run MacVector, choose the MacVector | Preferences menu item, click on the License tab then click on the Edit button and paste in the updated activation code.

Of course, if you ever have any difficulties, just e-mail us at and we will get you sorted out.


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MacVector, Inc • PO Box 1147 • Apex • North Carolina 27502 • USA

phone: +1-919-303-7450 • toll free: +1-866-338-0222 • fax: +1-919-303-7449