Resources for Learning Home Designer

Reference Number: KB-00337
Last Modified: April 19, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

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


What are my different options for learning to use Home Designer software?


Chief Architect, Inc. provides a number of resources designed specifically to help you to become familiar with our software titles, including:

Trial Versions

If you are considering purchasing one of the Home Designer software programs, you can review an online Product Chooser Comparison Matrix of the different titles, watch the Video Overview, and request a free trial version download of the software to evaluate it before purchasing.

If you have any questions about the differences between the software versions beyond what you can find in the Product Chooser or in the trial version itself, contact our Sales team to discuss your needs and they can assist with trying to ensure you get the best version for you, as well as explain the upgrade path if you should need to upgrade to a more advanced version in the future.

Help - Contents and Index

All of the Home Designer programs, including the trial versions, have an extensive in-program Help, which can be accessed by first launching Home Designer, then from the menu select Help> Launch Help.

You can search by keywords on the Index and Search tabs, or view the entire Reference Manual and User's Guide by chapter on the Contents tab.

User's Guide

The Home Designer User's Guide can also be accessed in its PDF form by selecting Help> View User's Guide.

This guide walks you step-by-step through creating a basic project from start to finish, so it is the best first place to start if evaluating or learning the software for the first time to familiarize yourself with the interface and program functions. The tools and techniques discussed in this guide can then be applied later to your own designs.

Reference Manual

The Reference Manual can also be accessed in its PDF form by selecting Help> View Reference Manual, and it is a comprehensive source of information for Home Designer. Chapters are organized by subject, beginning with the fundamental concepts and progressing to the more advanced features.

As you learn the Chief Architect software, if there is something in a dialog that you do not understand, most will have a Help button located in the lower part of the dialog. Clicking on this Help button will launch the software's context sensitive Help specific to that dialog. For dialogs, this will typically show you a screenshot of the dialog you are viewing with detailed numbers and an explanation of what each item means.

Tutorial Training Videos

An extensive collection of online tutorial Training Videos can be located on the website at:

To avoid confusion when watching an online tutorial training video, use the Select a Product drop down menu ensure that you only watch videos that pertain to your version of the software.

Knowledge Base

This online Knowledge Base, which contains hundreds of written articles with answers to many technical and how to questions, can be located on the website at:

You can use the topic navigation on the left of the Knowledge Base section to view all articles on a particular topic, or search the website for a keyword or phrase, then select the Support Database tab to view online articles contained in the Knowledge Base.

Training Webinars

View currently available webinars on the website at:

Several online webinars are offered where you can choose to either sign up for a live seminar ,which has an interactive chat that allows you to ask questions during the class, or you can choose to watch a previously recorded version of the seminar.

Most webinars are created using Home Designer Pro, but may still have application information for the less advanced versions of Home Designer as well.

The Chief Architect Software YouTube channel also has a Home Designer Webinars playlist.

Note: Please note that if you change the playlist, you may view videos only applicable to the more advanced Chief Architect Premier version of the software.

Sample Renderings and Plans

Several sample plan files can be downloaded from the website at:

You may find it helpful to view example renderings or download and view Sample Plans created in Home Designer to learn how something was created.

Catalog and Content Downloads

In addition to the Core Catalogs that you are prompted to download when the software first launches, there are a large number of bonus and manufacturer catalogs with Library content that can be used in Home Designer. Some catalogs are available for free and others are available as a separate purchase.

Note: Use the Filter settings near the upper right of the 3D Library page to ensure that you only download content compatible with your version of Home Designer. Some catalogs will only be available to Chief Architect Premier users with current Support and Software Assurance (SSA).

The 3D Library can be located on the website at:


Chief Architect provides a free online user forum for all Home Designer users, or prospective users, called HomeTalk, to ask questions of other users. You can register an account for free and either search prior threads for answers to questions, or go in to the Q&A section to choose the Start New Topic button in order to start a new thread of your own, if you cannot find an answer on how to accomplish a particular task using any of the other resources.

HomeTalk can be located on the website at:

One-on-One Training*

*Pro only

If you are using HomeDesigner Pro, are struggling with a particular project, and need individualized and interactive step-by-step instruction, then you may want to consider purchasing and scheduling a one-on-one Training session with a certified Chief Architect Trainer.

Information on this service can be located on the website at: