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What is "Technical Support"?

This article explains what you can expect from the Engineering Services team and from your technical support contract.
Alissa Wilczynski
Frequently Asked Questions

What is Technical Support?

The Engineering Services Team at Zemax LLC, is here to help you use your license of Zemax OpticStudio.  Our aim is to provide answers when the documentation isn’t clear and keep you moving forward when you get stuck in your design or analysis.  Additionally, having current support on your license entitles you to the latest release of OpticStudio, which can include new features and bug fixes.  When under support, you may use any of these resources:
  • Help documentation
  • How-to articles & videos
  • Webinars
  • Public discussion forums
  • Private support cases

What Does Technical Support Cover?

Technical support is intended to help you through the rough patches of learning a new software program and understanding the assumptions or calculations that go into generating the results you’re seeing.  Questions should be specific in identifying the problem at hand, like:
  • “What merit function operand do I need in order to find the RMS size of the PSF?”
  • “My Huygens PSF is showing different results compared to the FFT calculation.  Why is that, and how do I know which to trust?”
  • “I’m getting a series of error messages when I try to change my glass type, and I can’t figure out how to resolve them.  Can you help?”
  • “Whenever I press this button, the program crashes.  Can you fix it?”
  • “What type of OpticStudio surface should I use in order to represent a freeform?”
For more broad-based questions, we will refer our users to the relevant available documentation and learning resources, such as the Help Files, Knowledge base articles, webinars, or other videos.  Examples of these larger scope questions include:
  • “How do I set up my system for tolerancing?”
  • “How do I set variables and optimize?”
  • “What does it mean to work in ‘mixed mode’?”
Technical support, however, cannot assist with the following:
  • Questions about design decisions, like "Should I use an aspheric surface or add an extra lens?"   We can tell you how to do either, but the decision on which choice is best for your application is something you have to decide.
  • Questions about optics theory, like “How do I get rid of my aberrations?” or “What is a pupil?”  There are many resources for you to use, like the books referenced in the first chapter of the OpticStudio Help PDF, or our series of training courses.  We can't teach optics as part of technical support, though we will refer you to any good books that come to mind.
  • If two analyses produce different results in OpticStudio, our team can explain the differences in the assumptions and calculations used by each feature.  However, the final selection of which is the correct analysis is up to you, the designer.  You will often need to know some optics theory about your designed system in order to make this choice.
  • Comparing laboratory results with simulated results.  There are many aspects that could be different between your lab setup and your OpticStudio system that we cannot account for, so we cannot explain why your lab experiment doesn’t match up with OpticStudio’s prediction.
  • Questions about fabrication or tradeoff decisions. Again, your choice of vendor or manufacturing method is something you have to decide for yourself.
  • Writing code examples or troubleshooting macros, user defined surfaces, DLLs, and API code: technical support on these topics is restricted to ensuring that all functions and keywords work as documented. We cannot advise on how to perform detailed calculations as part of technical support, nor can we debug your code for you.
  • Consultation or 1-on-1 training: We cannot teach you to use OpticStudio to complete assignments with which you have little or no experience.   A consultant is someone who offers significant assistance or advice on setting up your design.  Examples of consultative questions/statements include:
    • “Does this make sense?” or “Is this believable?”
    • “I need my system to match this diagram.”
    • “Please write me an example macro that does ____.”
    • “Can you check that my system is set up right?”
For these kinds of questions, the services of a qualified optics consultant who is a specialist in your area of work should be used. We can help to put you in contact with suitable consultants, if you wish.

How to Receive Technical Support

To receive technical support, you must have current support on your Zemax key. If you need to purchase support, you can do so here.  Technical Support is available 24 hours a day Mondays-Fridays by email to Chinese-language support is also available by email to Support is provided from our engineering teams in Kirkland, WA (USA), London (UK) and Shanghai (China).

When you need to contact us, please click the "Email Technical Support" button in the Help Tab in OpticStudio, which will automatically populate the subject line of your email with the key serial number and the version of OpticStudio that you are running. Alternatively, you can email Be sure to include your Zemax key number (press F10 when running Zemax to get this) in the subject line of your email. Please also send your lens file along with your questions: it is much easier to see the problem with the lens file in front of us. We aim to respond to installation questions within one business day and all other questions within two business days.

We understand that many designs are commercially or otherwise confidential. Remember that we do not offer any form of consulting or design service, so you do not risk giving your secrets to a competitor! Our focus is only on helping you use OpticStudio as effectively as possible. If you really cannot send your full lens file to us, try to reproduce your problem either with one of the over-100 sample files supplied with OpticStudio, or produce a simplified file that demonstrates the problem without revealing your proprietary information. We cannot sign any non-disclosure agreements.