Got a query about our Software and Services?

Please check through these answers to some of the more common queries you might have about our software and services.

Click here to return to the main FAQs page.

Key facts

What's the difference between free and paid versions of our software? +

Polyboard and StairDesigner

For both Polyboard and StairDesigner, the free/demo/member version (it's all the same thing) has the same functionality as the full version except for manufacturing output.

You can design and optimise your projects, control feasibility and show off your projects in 3D but you cannot print or export cutting lists, plans and manufacturing files.

You can buy the software which comes with this functionality integrated, but you don't have to.

See the FAQ 'How do I get manufacturing documents from Polyboard and StairDesigner?' for your options.

OptiCut, OptiNest and CalepiLight

You can download the demo versions of OptiCut, OptiNest and CalepiLight to test out all the functionality. They will output optimized files but these will not include all the information required for manufacturing. Please request a sample cutting list or nesting output to test in your workshop.


Rather than a free version, you get access to a 30 day trial version that is fully functioning.

How do I get manufacturing documents from Polyboard and StairDesigner? +

Once you have designed your project with the free/member version of Polyboard or StairDesigner you have 3 ways to get the cutting lists and plans to build your project.

1. Buy the software

If you make furniture or stairs regularly you can buy a full version of our software. We will send you an activation code for your existing free version that gives you access to all functionality.

Rest assured, you will be able to continue working on your projects without loosing any data.

2. Use our CabinetFile or StairFile services

Just upload your design file from the free version of the software to the forum and we’ll send you back all the documents to build your project. Not only that, we'll review and revise your project if necessary, and support you through the build process as well. There is an additional fee to these services which are exclusive to Full members.

These services, called CabinetFile and StairFile, are used by amateurs and professionals alike, either where you are working on a single project so don't really need to buy the software, or where you wish to fully test things before buying.

They do cost a little extra on top of your membership but are well worth it for the professional input you receive. Click here for more information on CabinetFile and StairFile.

3. Use an Approved Supplier

Send your design file to them for processing and they'll send you back your parts ready for assembly.

If you work with an Approved Supplier, you'll even get Full membership completely free of charge too.


How do I activate the software? +

Polyboard, StairDesigner, OptiCut, OptiNest and CalepiLight

If you are using the free version of the software there’s no need to activate the software, just open up your software and start designing your project.

If you have bought the full version send us your User Code and we’ll send you back an Activation Code.

Open the activation dialogue box by clicking the Help > Activation Menu:

Email us your User Code from the dialogue box below, then copy and paste your new Activation Key into the Activation Code box and click OK.

If you get this message…

…quit the software and instead of left clicking the launch icon, right click on it. In the mouse menu choose ‘Run as administrator’, and follow the same steps as above.

Note for Mac users: as you'll be running the software in a Windows emulator, you may not be able to right click your mouse. Click here for a good article on the Parallels website (an emulator software manufacturer) that tells you how to do it.


We will send you an activation code to add to your trial version of the software following purchase. There is no user code you need to send us.

What are the software system requirements? +

Windows: XP, Vista, 7 or above - 2GB RAM minimum, 4GB recommended

Mac: we have many Mac clients successfully using our software with a Windows Emulator. See the next FAQ for details.

Can I install the software on multiple computers? +

Polyboard and StairDesigner

If you want several people working on Polyboard you can install the free version on as many computers as you want.

The free version will enable you to do everything except output the manufacturing documents...plans, cutting lists, CNC etc.

When you have finished a design on the free version just open the project in the fully activated version and you will be able to output the manufacturing documents.

This means you are able to continue using the software on any computer from anywhere. You can design on a laptop with a customer and take the design to the full version and print the working documents.

You can even give away the free version to customers to see your project and even design for themselves. Then take their files and process them to build the projects.

If you do need fully activated versions on more than one computer, additional licences are discounted 50%.

OptiCut and OptiNest

You can purchase additional licences discounted 50%.

Is the software compatible with Macs? +

StairDesigner, Polyboard, Opticut and OptiNest do not have a Mac version.

To run the software on a Mac we recommend you use a Windows emulator. Several of our customers use VMWare Fusion which you can try. We have also received good reports on Parallels run in Coherence Mode.

In addition, you will need Boot Camp installed which is normally pre-installed on Macs.

Another solution is to buy a second hand PC just for design software. You can find a Windows PC that will run the software perfectly very cheaply on eBay.

Ness himself has a second hand computer that he bought for around £50, just for design and manufacturing in the workshop. This computer runs all his CAD programs and avoids his main computer collecting wood chips and dust in the workshop.

How do I uninstall the software? +

Polyboard, StairDesigner, OptiCut, OptiNest and CalepiLight

If you need to move your software to another computer, it is important you follow this procedure to get a new Activation Code.

You must first uninstall your software from the old computer.

Important! Do not uninstall the software as you normally would with Windows. You will not get the code you need that way and will not be able to get it later either.

Instead, navigate to and click on the Uninstall.exe file which uninstalls the software and extracts the code we need. You should find it on your hard drive under 'Program Files/Boole & Partners/Polyboard (version number)' for Polyboard for example.

Please send us the Uninstallation Code and also the User Code of the free version of the software installed on the new computer.

Once we have both of these codes, we will be able to generate a new Activation Code for you.

Thank you.

Windows is asking you what programme or application to use to open your downloaded software. What do I do? +

Sometimes your browser, most notably Internet Explorer, will strip out the file extension of some downloads. This can happen in particular with .exe files which we use for installing our software.

If a message pops up asking you what programme or application to use to open your software download, this is probably because the file extension has been removed.

To solve the problem, find the file you've downloaded, right click on it and select 'Rename'. Then add '.exe' to the end of the file name shown.

You should now be able to double click on the file to start the installation process.

My anti virus software is blocking my software install. What do I do? +

Some anti virus software, notably Norton, stops .exe files being downloaded so you cannot install your software.

You can revise your anti virus settings to accept the files, or turn it off temporarily during the download.


How do I buy a full version of the software? +

You can order and pay for full versions of the software directly from this website. Please navigate to the product page you want via the Store in the navigation bar.

You can also contact us to request our bank details and send us a bank transfer or check.

Polyboard, StairDesigner, OptiCut, OptiNest and CalepiLight

Once we have received your payment we will ask you for the user code of your free version of the software, which you can download from our Members Area.

With the user code we will calculate your activation code according to the version you have bought. Inserting the activation code into your free version will activate the functionality you have paid for.

If you upgrade to another version we’ll send you another activation code to unlock the extra functionality.

In this way you only pay for the functionality you need, never loose any data and continue working seamlessly from version to version.


With progeCAD, there is no user code you need to send us. We’ll send you an activation code which you insert into the software and you’re all set.

What services are Wood Designer Full members entitled to? +

In addition to Premium Support, Wood Designer Full membership gives you access to all our training resources and these Exclusive services:

CabinetFile and CabinetFile Optimized
StairFile and StairFile Optimized

What do new software versions cost? +

Polyboard, StairDesigner, OptiCut OptiNest and CalepiLight

Intermediary versions, for example v5.0, v5.01, v5.01a, v5.01b, are free.

Updates between major versions, for example v4 to v5 to v6, are optional and cost 30% of the full version.


New versions of progeCAD will cost the full list price.

How do I upgrade to a higher paid version of my software? +

Upgrades to higher versions of Polyboard (e.g. Pro to Pro PP), StairDesigner, OptiCut, OptiNest and CalepiLight are free for 30 days following your purchase.

After 30 days you will pay the price of the new version with a discount equal to 70% of the price you paid for your current version.

After we receive your payment we’ll send you a new activation code that will upgrade your software and free up the new functionality.

Does your software come with ongoing maintenance fees or support contracts? +

No, there are no ongoing fees.

You can if you wish sign up as a Full member which includes Premium Support on our forum and TeamViewer sessions if required.

Purchases of some of our most popular software includes 6 months Full membership free of charge.

We also offer a 1-2-1 training service. Please click here for more information.

How do I become a reseller? +

To become a reseller you must be:

1. The owner of at least one full version of the software you are reselling.

This is because we believe that only someone who is actively using our software can tell another person it’s qualities and limits. If you are an enthusiastic user, recommending our software to someone you know is easy.

It’s not necessary to own the exact version you are offering. You can own Polyboard Lite and sell Polyboard Pro for example, but to sell StairDesigner you must own a StairDesigner.

2. Be a Partner member of the Wood Designer Community

Your Partner membership allows you to become a reseller of the software that you own.

The easiest way to resell is just to send us the name and address of your customer before he subscribes or orders from our website.

We will send you a check or PayPal transfer for 20% of the value of your first order and 30% for subsequent orders.


Can I add my own parts to Polyboard and StairDesigner? +

No, Polyboard and StairDesigner only allow basic design of parts for a quick 3D view.

To add more complex details you must export and edit the stair as a 3D DXF file to a CAD program. Full members have access to our 3D DXF export service (maximum 1 file/month) that they can use with the free member version of the software. Click here for more details.

Selected paid versions of the software have the 3D DXF export functionality built in.

Do Polyboard and StairDesigner come with template libraries? +

We have lots of example cabinets, furniture and stairs available for downloading from the Template Library in the members area, and we’re adding new resources all the time.

Our professional Partners also contribute to this library free of charge, but if you yourself are a professional we suggest that you take advantage of our software’s easy and powerful features to quickly create your own furniture and stairs models, libraries and manufacturing methods.


Will Polyboard integrate with optimisation software? +

Yes. We recommend our OptiCut software, but you can export your cutting list in CSV format and then import into a spreadsheet and a large range of optimising packages.

How can I test the software on my CNC machine? +

Polyboard 6 Pro PP outputs post processors files for MRP (woodWOP, HOMAG machines), CID and CIX (BiesseWorks and bSolid for Biesse machines), XXL (Xilog Plus, SCM / Morbidelli machines), TCN (TpaCAD for Felder, Vitap, Brema) and DXF files for any standard CNC or CAD/CAM software.

If you want sample files to test on your CNC just send us a project file and tell us what machine you need the code for.

We’ll process the file and send you back the machine code for testing. You can load the machine code into your machine interface and see quickly if your machine is compatible with the code.

Please note that Polyboard, OptiCut and OptiNest post processors will need to be set up with the right tool paths and options to correctly cut your parts.

This element is not necessarily set up correctly in the example code. The code is just to see if your machine interface will read the output.

StairDesigner outputs DXF files which you'll need to integrate with another software solution. Send us your project created using the free version of StairDesigner, we'll send you the DXF file for testing.

Will Polyboard and StairDesigner connect to nesting CNC Machines? +

Polyboard and StairDesigner will connect to any nesting machine via our OptiNest software. They will also integrate directly into some nesting packages. Please contact us for more details.


Still stuck? +

Please check out our huge range of software training and support resources available in the members area, and we are always available on the forum if you want to talk.

The training also covers in detail how and when to access our services like CabinetFile and StairFile for example.

If you still have any pre-sale queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.