Using the Reference Display

Reference Number: KB-00303
Last Modified: July 21, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or HomeDesigner Suite


Is there a way to superimpose or reference the contents of Floor 1 on top of Floor 2 in a way that would allow me to edit Floor 2 while seeing where objects are located on Floor 1?


Home Designer can have multiple floors in a single plan. Of these floors, only one can be active for editing at a time. However, one floor, called a reference floor, can be superimposed on the working floorto keep walls and rooms in line, or to view the floor above or below such as if the one story is cantilevered. In addition, the option to switch between working and reference floors is available.

Begin by opening a Home Designer plan file.

In floor plan view, select Tools> Floor/Reference Display to display the Floor/Reference Display sub-menu.

Change Floor/Reference

This option allows you to specify your reference display layer settings, along with the ability to change what floors are referenced when using the Reference Display.

Up One Floor

This option changes the active floor level to be the floor above.

Down One Floor

This option changes the active floor level to be the floor below.

Reference Display

This option will toggle the Reference Display ON/OFF so you can see where objects may be located on other floors. The contents of the reference cannot be edited; however, they can be used to align walls, stairs and other items in the plan. Do note that you must have multiple floors on your plan to take advantage of the reference display features.

To use the Reference Floor

  1. In floor plan view, select Tools> Floor/Reference Display> Change Floor/Reference .

  2. In the Change Floor/Reference dialog that displays:

    Change Floor/Reference dialog

    • The Current Floor level you're on will be highlighted at the top.

    • The Show Reference Floor checkbox will turn the Reference Display ON/OFF, much like the Reference Display tool does.

    • Use the Reference Floor drop-down to choose what floor you would like to reference. By default, Automatic is selected.

      Note: When the Automatic option is selected, the floor level below the Current Floor is always used; if there is no floor below, the floor above is used instead.  

    • Click Define next to Reference Display Options to open the Layer Display Options dialog and change the settings for the Reference Floor Layer Set. This will determine what layers will appear for referencing, along with the layer properties that are defined, such as the color.

    • Once all desired changes are made, click OK to close the dialog.

  3. If you did not check the Show Reference Floor checkbox in the step above, navigate to Tools> Floor/Reference Display> Reference Display to turn on the Reference Display.

    Floor plan with the Reference Display turned on

    Note: The F9 key is a hotkey for the Reference Display tool and is an easy way to toggle reference lines ON/OFF quickly. 

    In Home Designer Pro, you can also find the Reference Display toolbar icon located on the right side of the program. 

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