Updating to BarTender 2019 Follow

Jasper Wen

Welcome to BarTender 2019!

BarTender 2019 is one of our biggest software releases, and we're really excited that you've decided to update. This guide will help you plan and prepare for your BarTender 2019 update to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Major Changes in BarTender 2019

If you're upgrading from an older version of BarTender, there are some changes that you should be aware of. Here's a list of major things that you need to know.

  • All editions of BarTender are now licensed by printer.
    • BarTender 2016 Basic will be updated to a BarTender 2019 Professional, 1 printer license.
    • BarTender 2016 Professional will be updated to a BarTender 2019, 2 printer license.
  • BarTender 2019 has a new Licensing Service that replaces Seagull License Server. This Licensing Service is not backwards compatible with older versions of BarTender. This means that you must update your BarTender clients at the same time that you update your master License Server.
  • BarTender 2019 greatly simplifies the installation process, installing most BarTender components with every installation.
  • Since the release of BarTender 2019 R5, installing SQL Server Express is no longer a requirement. We now instead use LocalDB for internal application related storage. However, there are some BarTender features that require the use of a BarTender System Database stored on a local (possible for Automation and Enterprise Editions) or remote (Enterprise Edition required) SQL Server instance.

For a full list of new features in BarTender 2019, see our What's New in BarTender 2019 White Paper

If you are running BarTender 10.1 (or previous), we've created a community topic containing helpful information and webinars to assist with the update process:

Updating from BarTender 10.1 to BarTender 2019

Making an update plan

As with any software update, we recommend that you create an upgrade plan that covers your entire BarTender installation. A typical upgrade plan for BarTender 2019 might look like this:

  1. Backup BarTender documents (.btw).
  2. Backup Data Files (such as database files, transactional data, etc).
  3. Backup Integration designs (".tl" for Commander, ".btin" for Integration Platform).
  4. Backup BarTender System Database.
  5. Backup other resources such as BarTender components (.btc), graphic files, VBScript functions, etc.
  6. Document how each existing integration and BarTender document works. Verify other possible resources linked to BarTender and document / backup them.
  7. Export your printer driver settings if you’re also planning to update / reinstall your Seagull printer drivers.
  8. If using local security settings for your Active Directory user-based authentication, backup the security settings data file.
  9. Create a test environment that closely replicates your production environment.
  10. Complete comprehensive testing in the test environment.
  11. Upgrade the live environment during a stoppage (or slowdown) in production.
We strongly recommend creating a test environment before updating your version of BarTender.

What you need before updating

You'll need access to a few things before you can update BarTender.

  • The latest BarTender 2019 installer. You can download this here.
  • Your Product Key Code for BarTender with an active maintenance and support contract. You can find this in the PKC certificate that was emailed to you when you bought BarTender.
  • Administrator access to the computer(s) that you will updating.

Installing BarTender 2019

When you're ready, you can install BarTender 2019 "over the top" of an existing BarTender installation. This means you do not need to remove your older version of BarTender. Simply run the BarTender 2019 installer to perform the update.

Activating BarTender

During the BarTender installation, you will be prompted to activate Bartender. You can use your existing BarTender Product Key Code to activate.

Provisional Activation

When you're activating BarTender, you have the option to choose a "Provisional Activation". Provisional activation allows you to activate a BarTender 2019 license on one computer for a temporary period, while your older license remains active in production. Professional and Automation editions can provisionally activate for 30 days. Enterprise editions can provisionally activate for 180 days.

After this period, BarTender is automatically deactivated. Warning messages will be periodically displayed to inform you that BarTender is provisionally activated and will be deactivated after the specified period.

Provisional Activation is useful for two reasons:

  • You can use Provisional Activation to test BarTender 2019, while keeping your older version running in production.
  • Since older BarTender clients cannot communicate with the BarTender 2019 Licensing Service, you can use Provisional Activation to keep concurrent versions running while you migrate all older BarTender installations to BarTender 2019.

Upgrading the BarTender System Database

Once you upgrade BarTender, the new version will be unable to connect and log to an older version of the BarTender System Database. To continue logging information and/or using Librarian, you must also update the BarTender System Database.

In most cases, older versions of BarTender can log information to a new BarTender System Database schema. However, under some circumstances, older versions of BarTender might be unable to log information or use an upgraded BarTender System Database. Before you upgrade, we strongly recommend that you do the following:

  • Refer to the Backwards Compatibility section below to ensure that you do not lose any of your current database data or settings
  • Create a backup of your current BarTender System Database

The first time you launch BarTender following an upgrade, you will be prompted to upgrade the BarTender System Database.

Backing up the System Database

We strongly recommend that you create a backup of your current System Database before you upgrade to a new version.

To create a System Database backup:

  • Open Administration Console
  • Go to the System Database node
  • Click Administrative Tasks
  • Select Backup Database...
  • Follow the prompts to choose a location and create your backup

Backwards Compatibility with BarTender System Database

If you are still running an older version of BarTender, be aware that only BarTender v10.1 SR2 and higher installations can connect to a newer BarTender version of the BarTender System database to retrieve or write data. (This is a consideration only if you are running multiple versions of BarTender on the same network.)

Generally, after you upgrade to a new version of BarTender and the BarTender System Database, it is best to upgrade any other BarTender installations that are connected to that database.

Document Backwards Compatibility

Documents created in an older version of BarTender can always be used in a newer version.

Documents saved in a newer version of BarTender cannot be opened in an older version. Therefore, if you are using multiple versions of BarTender and sharing documents between these versions, you should consider saving all new documents to the oldest version available in your company.

To change the version format for a single BarTender document:

  1. Open BarTender and the document that you want to change
  2. Click the File menu
  3. Select Save As...
  4. In the File Type drop-down menu, choose the version you would like to save to

To automatically save all documents for an older version of BarTender:

  1. Open BarTender
  2. Click the Administer menu
  3. Click BarTender Document Setup
  4. Modify the Save Document As option
Saving documents to older versions of BarTender may remove some features that aren't supported in the older version.

Preview Releases

If you're interested to try out our Preview Release 2 for BarTender 2021 (our next major release of BarTender), visit the following community topic which contain details on what the preview release is, what new features it includes, who is it targeted to and what support will be offered for it.

BarTender 2021 Preview 2


Rafał Malus
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What about the support of TLS greater than version 1.0? Does new version support 1.1 or 1.2?  I mean the network licensing service.

Mark Gonzales
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When will 2016 be unsupported?

Roger Penn
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Unfortunately, older documents can NOT always be used in a newer version. All our old 10.1 documents open up completely mangled in Bartender 2019. I wish I had known this. It will take literally hundreds of hours to redesign all of our labels.

Ramzan Anjum
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I agree with @Roger Penn, we are also struggling with migrating BarTender 10.1 to BarTender 2019 and there are few critical issues within templates migration. All templates which are working in 10.1 are not working in Bartender 2019. 

Peter Zalinski
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@Roger Penn & @Ramzan Anjum -- I've yet to experience that, and have upgrade numerous customers.

I am curious as to why they might be "mangled." 

The worst problems I've seen were font-related; users created using Win7 true-type fonts that were not native to Win10, and we had to adapt the templates.

What has your experience been like?

Roger Penn
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Le me throw a monkey-wrench into the works :-) Our templates were originally created in Bartender 10.1 running on Windows 10 Pro. Because of the printer driver issues, we built a Win7 box and installed Bartender 2019. Opening the files then caused the display problem, although even when haywire on the screen, they still printed perfectly! So one might think that maybe they were created using Win10 fonts that weren't there on Win7, although some kind of behind-the-scenes font substitution had to be going on because the text was there in some font or other and printed just fine. BUT...when I "downgraded" to Bartender 10.1 on the same Win7 machine, all the labels previously created in Bartender 10.1 on Win10 then opened, displayed, and printed correctly. So that suggests a Bartender version issue rather then the fonts.

Younes Bouzayani
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i have 2016 R3 version with a license for 10 printer and i want to upgrade to 2019 R7 release

i have no maintenance contract please how can i proceed should i make a one or purchase an in place upgrade

thanks in advance

Laura Vela
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Thank you all for your interest and inquiries.

I think some of you might have already received a reply via a support ticket, however, I would like to answer some of your questions here (so that they are public as well) because they might be helpful to other customers:


Rafal Malus - Support for TLS 1.0 and higher:

Unfortunately, although when developing a new version we try to upgrade to newer components and use the latest ones available at that time, there are still some applications and/or services that was not possible to update for the v2019 version and that therefore are still using older protocols.

The BarTender System Service is based on .NET Remoting, and therefore, this in turn make use of the TLS 1.0 Protocol, even in BarTender v2019. Also, the Integration Platform and the License Server use WCF based on .NET Framework 4.0, which also makes use of the TLS 1.0 Protocol.

However, we continue working on updating these services and applications that are still dependant on the TLS 1.0 Protocol.


Mark Gonzales - End of Support for BarTender v2016

The information about our Product Lifecycle can be accessed here:

  1. Go to support.seagullscientific.com
  2. Click on Get Support
  3. Click on Support Policies on the right hand side of the screen
  4. Expand the "What versions are supported?" section.

​​As you can see, the support for BarTender v2016 will expire the 8th of April 2023.


Roger Penn & Ramzan Anjum - Problems updating documents from v10.1 to v2019

It seems both of you are have a ticket open with our support and the problems raised are currently being investigated.


Younes Bouzayani - License upgrade to v2019

BarTender is sold exclusively through a worldwide network of knowledgeable resellers and integrators. If you recall who your re-reseller is, I would advise you to contact them directly. Alternatively, you can complete and submit the form below, and a reseller representative will contact you to help complete your purchase.



I hope you find the information helpful! Do let us know if there is anything that needs to be clarified.

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