Generating a PDF File

Reference Number: KB-00484
Last Modified: October 28, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or HomeDesigner Suite


I am looking for a way to create a PDF, or Portable Document Format file, as that is what my print shop will accept and can print. 

Alternatively, I want to create a .pdf file to send to someone who does not have a Chief Architect program. 

What is the process for and/or what software do I need to create a .pdf file?


Starting in Home Designer 2015, you can choose to create a .pdf file from within the program without any third party print drivers. 

For earlier versions, you will need to download and install a PDF print driver, which is discussed in the next section. For information on upgrading, please contact our Sales team directly.

To create a .pdf file in Home Designer 2015 and newer programs

  1. From the menu, select File> Print> Drawing Sheet Setup .

    • Set the OrientationSizeDrawing Scale and Drawing Margins.

      Drawing Sheet Setup dialog where sheet properties can be specified

      Home Designer Pro can also create .layout files, which serve as dedicated construction documents in which scaled views can be sent to.

      When printing a layout file, your Scale should remain at 1 in = 1 in.

    • Press OK to return to your plan.

  2. Next, select File> Print> Print  to open the Print View dialog.

    In Home Designer 2020 and newer product versions, you can also navigate to File> Export> Export PDF to open the Export PDF dialog.

    Specify the DPI, paper orientation and size, along with the scale in the Export PDF or Print View dialogs

    • Under Destination, click the selection next to Name, and choose Save As PDF.

    • Set the desired DPI, Orientation and SizeDrawing Scale, and any other options as needed.

    • Click the Save as PDF button, choose a location and name for your PDF, then click Save.

As there was not a built-in PDF print option in Home Designer 2014 and previous program versions, a third party PDF print driver must first be installed in order to create a .pdf file.

For a list of popular PDF print drivers, please see the PDF Print Driver Information section below.

To print a .pdf file in Home Designer 2014 and earlier versions

  1. From the menu, select File> Print> Page Setup .

    Click the Printer button in the Page Setup dialog to choose your PDF print driver

  2. Select the Printer button in the bottom left corner, choose the PDF print driver, then click OK.

    Use the Printer Name drop-down menu to select the PDF print driver

  3. Set the Size, Orientation and Scale up to your liking, then click OK.

    Home Designer Pro can also create .layout files.

    When printing a layout file, your Scale should remain at 1 in = 1 in.

After you have completed making changes in the Page Setup dialog, you are ready to print.

  1. Select File> Print> Print  to display the Print dialog.

    Navigate into the Print dialog and click OK to create a PDF

  2. Ensure that your print settings are setup correctly, then click OK.

    Depending on your PDF print driver, a Save As dialog will likely display, allowing you to give the .pdf file a name, and specify a file location in which to save it.

PDF Print Driver Information

While this process will quickly and easily produce a .pdf file, the one critical component that must be present is a PDF print driver.

The purpose of this section of the article is not to endorse one particular PDF driver over another, but is intended to present you with multiple options from which you can make the most appropriate choice.

Third party information present in this document was verified at writing and is subject to change. The information in this article is not intended to be an endorsement for the products or companies listed.

Listing these products and companies is for your information only, we will not provide any support for these products.

CutePDF® Writer
Price: Free Download
Features: CutePDF® allows you to create professional quality PDF files from almost any printable document. Free for personal, commercial, gov or edu use. No watermarks. No popup ads.

Price: Free Download, or you can purchase full version for a fee
Features: PDF995® makes it easy and affordable to create professional-quality documents in the popular PDF file format. Its easy-to-use interface helps you to create PDF files by simply selecting the Print command from any application, creating documents which can be viewed on any computer with a PDF viewer.

Bullzip® PDF Printer
Price: Free Download
Features: The Bullzip PDF Printer works as a Microsoft Windows printer and allows you to write PDF documents from virtually any Microsoft Windows application. This program is FREEWARE with limitations, which means that it is FREE for personal and commercial use up to 10 users. It does not contain any advertising or popups.

Nitro PDF Professional®
Price: Free Trial with the full version available for a fee
Features: Adds one-click PDF conversion for common office documents like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, Publisher, and offers a full suite of PDF editing capabilities.

Adobe® Acrobat Standard
Price: Purchase for a fee
Features: Ideal for people who prepare and share PDF documents, Acrobat Standard is the world's leading PDF writer and contains the capabilities needed to combine multiple files in a single PDF. Easily create fillable PDF forms.

Note: While Adobe Acrobat Reader can be used to view PDF files, it's not capable of creating them.