Locating Sample Plans

Reference Number: KB-00104
Last Modified: September 20, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors


Where can I find sample plans to view in my Home Designer software program? 


There are many plan files available for viewing in Home Designer 2017 and newer programs.  These can be a great way to see what the software is capable of, and to get an idea of how it was accomplished.  You can then take that Knowledge and apply it to your own designs.

There are two places to find sample plans, within the software, and on the website.

To locate Design Templates within the software*

 *Does not apply to Home Designer Essentials.

  1. Select File> New Plan.

  2. In the Create Plan dialog, click on the Select Category drop down menu.

  • Home Style Templates are completely blank template files that you can use for creating your own designs.

  • The other template categories include sample plans of projects that may include individual rooms, landscaping designs, or complete houses.

  • Many templates may only be offered in the U.S. Units (inches).

There are also sample renderings and plan files that can be downloaded from the Home Designer website.

To use Sample Plans from the website

  1. Go to the Sample Plans section of the Gallery on the Home Designer website.

  2. Click on the option to download a plan that you would like to view in Home Designer.  When prompted by your web browser on where to save the file, choose an easy-to-find location to save the plan to, such as your Desktop.

    Home Designer 2017 can open Sample Plans created in earlier versions of the software, but discontinued versions cannot open Sample Plans created in a newer version.

  3. Once the download completes, go to your Desktop and locate the downloaded file.

    - In Windows, right-click on the compressed/zipped folder and select Extract All.
    - In Mac OS X, double click on the zipped folder to extract it automatically.

  4. Once extracted, within the folder for this sample drawing, you may find the following file types.

    - .PLAN -  This is the Sample Drawing file.  It is compatible with Chief Architect Software products, version X4 or newer.
    - .LAYOUT - This is the Sample Layout file.  This file contains an arrangement of views from the .plan file in a printable format. This file can only be opened by Home Designer Pro or Chief Architect Premier.  It is not compatible with Home Designer Architectural or less advanced Home Designer versions.
    - .JPG - This is a thumbnail preview of the .PLAN and/or .LAYOUT files.
    - .ZIP - This is a packet of associated and required file references for the .PLAN file. Do NOT extract this file.

  5. To view the drawing, launch Home Designer and select File> Open Plan.

  6. In the Open dialog, browse to the location of the file and select it. then click the Open button.

    You may now view, edit, and otherwise interact with this sample drawing within the limitations of your version.

    Note: Bear in mind that some Sample Plans may have elements not editable by your version.  For example, Custom Countertops can only be selected, modified and deleted in versions of the software that have this tool.