Message: Files not found in layout.

Reference Number: KB-00022
Last Modified: June 30, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors

Home Designer Professional


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


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. If a warning message displays, indicating that a file cannot be opened, click OK.

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

  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 Plan Files Not Found list.

  5. If re-linking the files does not resolve the problem, select File> 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:, delete it and click the Save button.

    • Repeat steps 1-4 above.

To protect layout links

When working with layout files, it's 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 onto 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

If you store your plan files in "My Documents", for example, you also need to store your layout files there.

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


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

Avoid long file names

When naming the layout files, do not use any punctuation: No spaces, periods, dashes - no characters of any kind other than letters and numbers. Good file management usually involves organizing your files into different folders; however, try to keep the path to your project directory as short as possible.

  • If we create a layout file, name it "Test" and save it to the desktop in a folder called "Directory" - our path will be pretty short.

    Example: C:\Users\Username\Desktop\Directory\Test.layout

  • In contrast, if we save a file with a highly formatted file name into a similarly formatted folder which we place inside another folder called File Management and locate all of this in Documents, the path name will be considerably longer.

    Example: C:\Users\Username\Documents\File Management\TestingDirectory\TestingLayouts.layout

    To avoid both long path names and broken file links, it is extremely important that you never save your work inside the Archive folders.

Avoid moving either the plan or the layout file.

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

If you need to move files from one computer to another, use the Backup Entire Plan function.