Generating a PDF File

Reference Number: KB-00484
Last Modified: September 29, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

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


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

Alternately, 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 Save as PDF from within the program directly. 

For earlier versions, you need to download and install a PDF print driver, which is discussed in the Next Section. For information on upgrading, see the Home Designer/Chief Architect Software Discounts page.

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

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

  • Set OrientationSizeDrawing Scale and Margins(optional).

    Home Designer Pro can also create .layout files.

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

  • Press OK to return to your plan.

  • From the menu, select File> Print> Print  to open the Print View dialog.

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

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

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

    As there was not a built-in PDF print option in Home Designer 2014 and below, a 3rd party PDF print driver must first be installed in order to print 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 .

    2. Select the Printer button, and use the drop-down menu to select the PDF print driver, then click OK to return to the Page Setup dialog.

    3. Select the page Size, Orientation and Scale.

      Home Designer Pro can also create .layout files.

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

    4. Once you have finished making your changes, click OK.

      If desired, select File> Print> Print Preview and Zoom Out until you can see the page on screen to verify it will be the size you want when printed to pdf.

    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.

    2. 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 choose a location in which to save it.

    PDF Print Driver Information

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

    The purpose of this section of the article is not to endorse one particular PDF driver over another, it 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 Web ads. Now supports 64-bit Windows.

    Price: Free Download
    Features: PrimoPDF® is the web's #1 free software for creating 100% industry-standard PDF files. Simple to use and free of ads, converting files to PDF has never been easier!

    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 9 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. And apply basic document security features.

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