Linking Intel oneAPI and Visual Studio with Abaqus

ABAQUS is one of the most popular commercial finite element programs in both academia and industry. In addition to the built-in physics and material models, ABAQUS allows its users to program new features through the user subroutine feature, typically written in Fortran or C++. The recommended compiler for ABAQUS user subroutines is Intel Fortran which is a part of the Intel oneAPI package since 2021. Additionally, on Windows OS, it requires installing Microsoft Visual Studio for linking and compilation. It always has been quite confusing to the users how to configure ABAQUS to use this feature. In this blog post, I will describe the procedures for installing the necessary package and configuring ABAQUS to avail the user subroutine feature.


The installation process is fairly simple in this case. But there are a few small caveats here and there, you need to be careful to install the appropriate versions and click on the appropriate option(s) during installation.

Software you will need

  1. Abaqus finite element solver
  2. Microsoft Visual Studio Community Edition
  3. Intel oneAPI Base Toolkit and Intel oneAPI HPC Toolkit
  4. Notepad or Notepad++ (or some text editor)

For the first time, I used ABAQUS 2020, Microsoft Visual Studio 2019, and Intel oneAPI 2021 followed by different versions of these packages in the past few years. However, I will use examples and images from the first installation I did back in February 2021. If you are doing it right now, you may have different versions of these packages, however the procedure is almost identical. A few things to note before you begin installation:

  1. Please ensure you have the compatible version of Visual Studio and Intel oneAPI.
  2. Install Visual Studio and Intel oneAPI in that order. ABAQUS can be installed at any point during the process (before or after).
  3. You will need to save the batch files related to these software using administrator access. So launch Notepad from the Windows program menu as administrator or use Notepad++. I used Notepad++ as it directly allows me save as administrator.


Abaqus user-defined features are only available through its academic (research) or commercial license which you should obtain from your university or workplace. The Abaqus Installation process is trivial depending on how you obtain the executables. While you going through the installation process, make sure to install Abaqus with CAA API components. ABAQUS should be installed in the C:\SIMULIA directory. This should install Abaqus/CAE and Abaqus/Viewer in the process.

Microsoft Visual Studio

Intel oneAPI 2021 supports Visual Studio 2017 and Visual Studio 2019. I used the latest one, VS 2019, at that time. Community Edition of Visual Studio is available for free, so download that edition.

Once you downloaded the installer, click on it to start the installation process. On the installation page, please select Desktop development with C++ and keep the rest of the default. It will take a few minutes to install.

If you are downloading a newer version of Microsoft Visual Studio, please make sure it is compatible with the Intel oneAPI version that you have.

Intel oneAPI

Intel oneAPI is split into two packages; Intel oneAPI Base Toolkit and Intel oneAPI HPC Toolkit. To be able to use Intel Fortran and C++ compilers, you will need both toolkits (especially for MKL libraries and parallel processing).

  1. Once both of the packages are downloaded, first install the Intel oneAPI Base Toolkit (I chose the default installation). It will recognize the existence of Visual Studio. Please click on the appropriate version and move forward with installation. It might take about 15-20 minutes to install the Base Toolkit. The next step is to install the HPC tool kit in the same procedure. This will take a few minutes to get installed.

  2. If you have done the default installation of Intel oneAPI, its components should be located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\oneAPI. Navigate to this directory and then navigate further to ensure the ifort executable is available in the following (or similar) directory. Copy the directory in a text file for later use. Intel is now moving to LLVM-based ifx compiler from 2024 ditching their old ifort compiler.

     C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\oneAPI\compiler\2021.1.1\windows\bin\intel64

Linking Intel Fortran with Abaqus

While the installation of the software packages is a cakewalk, it gets complicated at this stage. Follow one of the two methods below. I prefer Method 1 because it’s easy and quick, and I was able to configure the Intel oneMKL library as well in this approach.

In a few of the steps, when you make changes, you will have to save the file as administrator. Otherwise, you will not see the changes being made. Use Notepad++ to save yourself from headaches.

Method 1: Editing ABAQUS batch file

  1. Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\oneAPI\compiler\2021.1.1\env (or a similar directory) and ensure the vars.bat file is available. If the directory name is different in your installation, search for the vars.bat file through Windows Explorer and navigate to the directory. Copy the file directory to a text file.

     C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\oneAPI\compiler\2021.1.1\env\vars.bat
  2. Navigate to the C:\SIMULIA\Commands directory and open the abq2020.bat (or the version you installed) file with any text editor. In the beginning of the file, add the following lines to the file and save it as administrator.

     SET PATH=%PATH%; C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\oneAPI\compiler\2021.1.1\windows\bin\intel64; call "C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\oneAPI\compiler\2021.1.1\env\vars.bat" intel64

As you can see, the PATH in the first line is the PATH for ifort compiler executables which was copied during installation. The second line is calling the batch file for the ifort compiler which sets the environment variables when ABAQUS is invoked.

Method 2: GUI Approach

  1. Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\oneAPI\compiler\2021.1.1\env (or a similar directory) and ensure the vars.bat file is available. If the directory name is different in your installation, search for the vars.bat file through Windows Explorer and navigate to the directory. Copy the file directory to a text file.

     C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\oneAPI\compiler\2021.1.1\env\vars.bat
  2. Copy the path locations with file names for both of them. From the Windows start menu, search Edit the system environment variables. Then click on Environment Variables -> Path (under system variables), paste those previously copied batch file paths, and save it. You can see I already added those; 2nd and 3rd from the bottom on the rightmost image shown below.

  3. The next step is to link the Intel Fortran compiler with Abaqus shown step-by-step in the following image. Search Abaqus Command from the Windows Menu. Click on Open File Location. Then in Windows Explorer right click on Abaqus Command and click on Properties. In the shortcut tab, locate the target. Change from C:\WINDOWS\system32\cmd.exe /k to the following

     "C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\oneAPI\compiler\2021.1.1\env\vars.bat" intel64 vs2019 & C:\WINDOWS\system32\cmd.exe /k

Verify Linking and Installation

Open Abaqus Command (you can also do it from cmd or Powershell terminal) from the Windows menu and type abaqus info=system. It should show system information as follows, including the new compiler and linker information.

To verify further, type abaqus verify -user_std and/ or abaqus verify -user_exp on the Abaqus Command window. If the installation and linking were successful, then you will see something like this:

abaqus verify -user_std is for verifying the user subroutine feature for Abaqus/ Standard (UMAT, UEL, etc.), and abaqus verify -user_exp is for verifying the user subroutine feature for Abaqus/ Explicit (VUMAT, VUEL, etc.). To verify all of the features of Abaqus you can type abaqus verify -all. Please note, this might take a while and some components might not pass depending on your license and installation.

A bug fix for Abaqus 2019/2020

If you still have issues compiling user subroutines, one of the possible bugs could be fixed by following the approach. I experienced this issue when I installed Abaqus 2019 and 2020, they are fixed now. However, at that time, SIMULIA suggested the following to make then-new Intel oneAPI Toolkits compatible with Abaqus.

Please navigate to the C:\Program Files\Dassault Systemes\SimulationServices\V6R2020x\win_b64\SMA\site directory and locate the abaqus_v6.env file. Open the file using a text editor, add the following line at the end of the file, and save the file as administrator.

compile_fortran += ['/names:lowercase',]

Linking Intel oneMKL Library with Abaqus

This is an advanced and optional feature which is very rarely used. Intel oneMKL library includes efficient math subroutines (e.g., BLAS and LAPACK) which can be included in user subroutines to perform computation. However, from time to time, I found it useful to take advantage of existing libraries to write efficient subroutines.

  1. Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\oneAPI\mkl\2021.1.1\env, and ensure the vars.bat file is available for oneMKL package. This batch file is for the Intel oneMKL library. Copy the file directory as usual.

  2. Navigate to C:\SIMULIA\Commands and open the abq2020.bat (or corresponding version) file. Add the following line below the two lines previously added for the ifort compiler. Save the file as administrator using the same approach as above; either run Notepad as administrator from the Windows program menu or use Notepad++.

     call "C:\Program Files (x86)\Intel\oneAPI\mkl\2021.1.1\env\vars.bat" intel64
  3. In the previous step, providing Intel oneMKL batch file location in the ABAQUS batch file will source the environment variables when ABAQUS is called to run simulations. However, to compile code with the Intel oneMKL library, you will need to do one more step. Locate to the C:\SIMULIA\EstProducts\2020\win_b64\SMA\site directory and open the win86_64.env file. Find the following line in the file and add the /Qmkl:sequential compiler option as shown below. The rest of the file should be the same. Save the file as administrator.

     compile_fortran=['ifort','/Qmkl:sequential', ... ... ]

    You may be able to run oneMKL library in parallel with Abaqus user subroutines by adding the '/Qmkl:parallel' compiler flag. However, I never tested this feature.

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