What software do I need to program CompactLogix or ControlLogix?

To program a CompactLogix or ControlLogix processor you’re going to need a copy of Studio 5000 or RSLogix 5000.

If you don’t have a copy, you can purchase it from your local Rockwell representative, and in most cases you’ll received a link to download the software within a day (see this article for more information.)

You can also request a thirty day “temporary activation” if you’re just trying the software out, or if waiting on a purchase order to be issued (more information about that in this article.)

When you do purchase a copy of Studio 5000, you not only get the lastest shipping version of Studio 5000, but you also get several previous versions of both Studio 5000 and RSLogix 5000 (details here)


Why you may need both packages

5000-VersionsFirst, you’ll need to use Studio 5000 to go online or program Logix processors with firmware revisions of 21 or higher.

But you’ll also need to use RSLogix 5000 to go online or program Logix processors with firmware revisions of 20 and lower.

Note: To find out which versions your processor supports, check out this article.

Why you may need multiple versions of each

Select-RSLogix-5000-Versions-to-installWhen you go to install the software, you’ll need to install all the MAJOR versions of RSLogix 5000 and Studio 5000 that match the firmware versions of “Logix” controllers you’re going to need to connect to.

Note: The MINOR versions of the Software and Firmware do not need to match because the software and firmware minor versions increment at different intervals when software or firmware issues are found and corrected, and therefore they are not related or dependent on each other.

For example, if you have one ControlLogix processor loaded with firmware version 16, and another with 21, and a CompactLogix loaded with firmware version 24, you would want to install RSLogix 5000 version 16, as well as Studio 5000 version 21 and 24.


Note: The requirement of the major software version matching the controller’s major firmware version is often referred to as “lock step” compatibility, so you’ll want to be sure it gets installed as well.

What else you’ll need

It should also be noted that when you install either RSLogix or Studio 5000, RSLinx Classic Lite will also be installed.

This is the communication software required for RSLogix or Studio 5000 to communicate to your Logix processors.

Which package or bundle to buy

RSLogix and Studio 5000 licenses come in several different bundles or packages, each supporting a different range of products and features.

For those who will only be using the lower cost CompactLogix, they can purchase the lower cost Studio 5000 Mini or Lite edition.


But for those who also need to program the more expensive ControlLogix processors, they will need the more expensive Standard, Full, or Pro version of the software which supports all of the CompactLogix and ControlLogix processors.


Note: I don’t often recommend the “Pro” version as it is bundled with software most users will never need. For more information see this article.

Well that’s it for today’s article about the software used to program CompactLogix and ControlLogix processors.

If you’d like to learn more about the CompactLogix and ControlLogix, check out my new free PAC Getting Started course at TheAutomationSchool.com

And if you have any comments or questions about this article please feel free to share them with us by using the “Leave a reply” form at the bottom of this page.


Shawn Tierney
Automation Consultant
Insights In Automation

Did you find my article helpful? Why not become a Premium Member with a small donation, and in return I'll give you a coupon for $10 of my automation downloads! Find out more here

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Legacy Comments

  1. I faced some difficulties in how to download studio 5000
    Please give me the instructions in how to purchase studio 5000 and factorytalk machine edition

  2. Hello Shawn,
    I am currently having a dilemma with RSLogix 5000. We are an Integrator and one of our customers has a Logix 5000 program which was written by Rockwell (or at least transferred by Rockwell from PLC 5). There are level sensors inside of silos and the signals from these sensors are scaled inside of Function Blocks in RSL 5k. The company I work for does not have the version/package of RSL 5k that comes with the FB language. My boss has asked me to look into a way of bypassing the Function Blocks. He asked me if it were possible to just create new tags “in parallel” with the function blocks so that we can scale the sensor signals ourselves. I assume that there is no workaround knowing how Rockwell locks down its products and makes you pay up for extra features but I was wondering if you knew of any way. Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks!


    • Good morning Rasim,

      Many customers use Function Blocks to scale values because it is easier than doing it in ladder, however I can also understand why you wouldn’t want to buy the FBD add-on just for one project.

      So yes, it should be fairly easy for you to disable (i.e. no longer jump to) the subroutine or unscheduled the program which does the scaling in FBD, and then create you own Ladder routine to do essentially the same thing using Ladder Logic.

      You may also want to get the free Scaling Ladder Logic AOI from SamplePrograms.RockwellAutomation.com as it makes scaling in ladder logic almost as easy as doing it in FBD.

      Hope this helps,

      Shawn Tierney

      Did you find my comment helpful? Why not become a Premium Member with a small donation, and in return I'll give you a coupon for $10 of my automation downloads! Find out more here

  3. Manuel Martinez

    Hi Shawn. I have some CompactLogix controllers programed with V24 and a new one for a new project but We want to make it in V24. We have Studio 5000 V28 with V21 to V28 installed but in new project dialog I can’t find how to make a V24 project, just V28 apear as option? How I can Make a new V24 Project. Thanks in advance, great blog.

    • Good morning Manual,

      What processor is it? If it’s an L73, or L1,2,3ER, v24 should be a valid choice!

      However, if it’s an 5580 L8, or new Compact 5380, you may find the only option is v28?

      To be sure, check you process against the supported version list in the release notes inside v28.

      You can also look it up on AB.com under compatibility – product versions

      Hope this helps – please let us know how you make out!

      Shawn Tierney

      Did you find my comment helpful? Why not become a Premium Member with a small donation, and in return I'll give you a coupon for $10 of my automation downloads! Find out more here

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