Getting started with PLCnext Engineer

The PLCnext Engineer software is required for starting up your PLCnext Control. For additional information, refer to the online help in the PLCnext Engineer user interface. 

Tip: Starting with firmware 2022.0 LTS, the PLCnext Engineer embedded help is also available online.
Note: Feature releases may not contain an updated online help if no changes or additions were necessary. Then the online help of the former release is still valid.

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.

Software releases

New PLCnext Engineer releases are downwards compatible so you can use always the latest PLCnext Engineer release with PLCnext Control devices of all firmware releases ≥ 2019.0 LTS.

Installing PLCnext Engineer

The software can be downloaded 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.


Make sure that you install a version of the PLCnext Engineer software that is suitable for your controller and firmware release.

For working with the current PLCnext Engineer features, use these firmware releases:

  • AXC F 1152: ≥ 2020.0 LTS
  • AXC F 2152: ≥ 2020.0 LTS
  • AXC F 3152: ≥ 2020.3
  • RFC 4072S: ≥ 2020.0 LTS
  • RFC 4072R: ≥ 2022.0 LTS

Using PLCnext Engineer

In the Quick Start Guide you are guided through your first hands-on experience with programming in PLCnext Technology.

In the Tutorial Video gallery, you learn about the crucial features and functions of the user interface.

For further readings, call the detailed Help of the PLCnext Engineer from its menu or online

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 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.



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• Published/reviewed: 2023-02-20 • Revision 053 •