How to use Athena?

What is Athena and how does it work?

Via Athena it is possible to use a large number of applications without having to install them yourself. Athena uses the Citrix technology for this. The applications that are available on Athena are installed on servers.

To use the applications you only need a client program on your device: the so called Citrix Workspace App. There is a client for almost all operating systems.

When using Citrix technology, only screenshots, mouse movements and keyboard strokes are sent over the network.

Athena is available for everyone with a UGent account.

Install the Citrix client

Check: Install Citrix client

Use Athena

On your computer:

  1. The URL for Athena is
  2. Log on using your username or e-mail address and password of your UGent-account.

On your mobile device:

  1. Start the Citrix Receiver Application.
  2. Use the following setup

Which software do you find on Athena?

By clicking on the 'Index', an overview (in PDF format) is generated of all possible folders and applications which are available. You do not automatically have access to all this software. Some packages are reserved for specific user groups, for licensing or security reasons.

What software you will be offered depends on the user group(s) you belong to. Whether you are a student or staff and to which faculty, service or department you belong: these factors make the difference.

The software is divided into different folders:


You can put the applications you use most often together under 'Favourites'.

Launching an application

  • To launch an application single-click the desired icon (do not double-click).


    When prompted to open a launch.ica file, click "Always open files of this type".
    Citrix Connection Center


    Citrix Connection Center

  • A pop-up will then appear stating that a connection is being established with the server.
  • When the connection to the server is established, a Citrix icon appears in the lower right-hand corner of the task bar.

It may take a few seconds to launch an application, so don't click again too soon.

Sometimes the application does not start immediately. If nothing has happened after about 20 seconds (no new icon, no new window), try again. If it does not work, see Possible problems.

The first time you run an application you may see the following screen, asking you to grant access to the local C:-drive of your computer


We advise to enable 'Full Access' and 'Never ask me again'. This enables you to open and write files to your local C:-drive.

Save or open files

The applications on Athena can access the next locations:


Printing from an Athena application

From an application on Athena, you can send print jobs to the default printer on your local PC.

If you wish to use another printer, you need to close all your Athena applications and then set up the appropriate printer as the default printer on your PC. Next, restart the application on Athena and print.

Students can also print to the publicly available copiers in PC nodes and libraries, see: Printing at UGent for students.

Citrix Connection Center

When starting an application on Athena the Citrix Receiver icon appears in the taskbar (lower right of screen).

Citrix Connection Center icoon

It provides access to the Citrix Connection Center, where you can see active connections. Right click on the icon and select 'Online Sessions' 'Connection Center'.

Citrix Connection Center Online Sessions

The following window appears:

Citrix Connection Center Online

Here you see on which servers you are logged on and which applications are running.

Below "Active" you see the names of the server(s) with which you have an active connection.
Below each server name you see the applications running on that server.

Applications that run on the same server can easily communicate with each other.

Time-out settings

Applications started on Athena are opened on a Citrix-server.

To reduce the load on our servers, sessions that are inactive for 3 hours 2 hours (*) are closed automatically.

(*) changed on 19/03/2020, after intensified use of Athena because of the Corona measures (working from home).

Setting permissions for local drives

You can change the permissions of your local drives through Athena by following steps:

Click the right mouse button on the Citrix Receiver icon in the lower right taskbar of your screen and click Connection Center.

Citrix Connection Center

The settings are per server each time. You select the server on which the program runs you want to reach the local disk, and then click Preferences.

Citrix Connection Center

Here you can set the permissions on your local disk. We recommend setting this to Read and write.
You click on OK to confirm.

Citrix Connection Center

Changing the MS Office language

You can change the language via Athena - APPS - Office 2019 Language Preferences

Changing regional settings

With the 'Regional Settings' tool on Athena you can set the list separator and the decimal separator (period or comma) for all your applications on Athena.

Citrix Connection Center

What is the difference between “locally” installed applications and applications on Athena?

“Locally” installed applications are installed on the hard drive of your computer. You can use the locally installed applications only when the device is physically available.

On Athena, you have many more applications at your disposal. You can use them from any device which has a Citrix client program installed. Working with Athena has the advantage that no software is loaded on your computer and that you can use the latest (or several) versions of applications. Functionally there is no difference between applications running locally on your computer and applications installed on Athena.

Communication between applications

Sometimes applications need to communicate with each other, for example, to print labels with Excel data via Mail Merge in Word. Or to insert citations ("cite-while-you-write") while writing in Word documents. In such case, EndNote or Reference Manager are accessed from Microsoft Word.

For applications to communicate with each other, they must run on the same computer.

you start all communicating applications on your computer
you start all communicating applications on Athena

It goes without saying that if one of the applications is only available on Athena, you can only work on Athena. For more information read: The Citrix Connection Center.