Message: Could not successfully open all of this layout's associated files.

Reference Number: KB-00022
Last Modified: April 14, 2023

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect InteriorsVertical SeparatorHome Designer Professional


When I open a layout file, a Referenced Plan Files dialog opens displaying a list of files present in the layout along with files not found in the layout. This window has the plan file listed in the second section and the views do not display. Why is that?

Referenced Plan Files dialog in Chief Architect.


The reason why this dialog appears is because Chief Architect can no longer find one or more plan files from which views have been sent. The result of this broken link is that views sent from the plan can no longer be displayed in the layout.

To resolve this issue, you can re-link the layout file to the appropriate plan file(s), restoring the views in the layout. There are also some preventative measures you can take to avoid this from happening in the future. 

To re-link plan files

  1. Open  the layout file in which you are encountering the Referenced Plan Files dialog described above.

  2. In the Referenced Plan Files dialog, click on a file in the Files Not Found section, then click the Browse button.

    Browse for the missing file in the Referenced Plan Files dialog.

  3. In the Browse for Missing File dialog:

    • Browse to the location of the missing plan file, then click on it to select it.

    • Click the Open button to return to the Referenced Plan Files dialog.

  4. Repeat this process for each of the files listed in the Files Not Found list.

  5. If re-linking the files does not resolve the problem, select File> Save As Save As with the layout file open and carefully read the file name.

    • If you see a period (.) in the file name, such as the period between file and name in this file's name: filename.plan, delete it and click the Save button.

    • Repeat steps 1-4 above.

      You can also access the Referenced Plan Files dialog by navigating to Tools> Layout> Referenced Plan Files within a layout file.

To protect layout links

When working with layout files, it is helpful to remember that views sent to layout are not actually relocated into that file. Rather, layout views can be thought of as "windows" that look back at the original view in the plan file.

One benefit of this arrangement is that if you make changes to the plan file, the changes will appear immediately in many types of layout views (floor plan view, for example). In order to do this, though, the program must be able to locate the original plan file that the views were sent from. If this file is moved or deleted, the link to the layout will be broken and the views that were sent to layout will disappear.

The following are some recommendations for maintaining links between plan and layout files. 

Save your plan and layout files in the same folder

You can avoid issues where referenced plan, image, or PDF files are lost if you store all the files for a project in the same folder. Here are some helpful tips to managing your files so that your projects work well in Chief Architect.

An outline of a folder tree with plan and layout files.

  • It is often helpful to create separate folders for each Chief Architect project.

  • If you import image or PDF files into either the plan or layout, it is a good idea to save a copy of that file into the same project folder as well.

Avoid long file names

When naming your files, try not to use any punctuation such as periods, question marks, exclamation marks, commas, etc.

Good file management usually involves organizing your files into different folders, however, try to keep the path to your file as short as possible.

As an example, the path C:\Users\John\Documents\Projects\Smith Residence\Smith Residence.plan is a reasonable path and the file name is descriptive enough to help identify it.

In contrast, a folder or file with a very descriptive name such as C:\Users\John\Documents\Projects\Smith Residence\Smith Residence - 6500 N. Mineral Dr. - Gable roof with wrap around porch.plan is an overly descriptive file name and may cause problems saving, or with auto archives and other backup systems. This is mainly due to a 260 character limit in some file systems.

To avoid problems related to saving or automatic backups, it is extremely important that you not work on files directly from the Archives folder.

In addition, try to avoid moving or renaming the plan or layout file once they have been linked together.

If one of these files must be moved, it is best to move them both together, along with any other referenced files, such as images or PDFs.

If you need to move projects from one computer to another, you can use the Backup Entire Plan/Layout Backup Entire Plan tool from the layout. Please see the Related Articles section to learn more.