Organizing Your Plan Files

Reference Number: KB-00585
Last Modified: March 1, 2017

The information in this article applies to:

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


How can I organize my plan files created in the Home Designer software?


File management can be a challenging concept for many computer users, but it is a very important skill to develop. In order to use your computer effectively, it is vital to know how to save your work properly, where it is saved on your computer and how to find it again.

It's also wise and extremely advisable to have a backup system for your data in place so that in the event of a hardware malfunction, such as a computer virus, hard drive failure, or a natural disaster, you always have a backup of your important files.

It is extremely important to always remember to only work on plans that are saved on your local machine's hard drive. 

Never work on files over a network server, external harddrive, or usb flash drive type device
. Not only is working using this method unsupported, it can also lead to file corruption and data loss. 

These options can, however, be a good way to back up your data, just remember to always copy the file from that location to your local machine's hard drive before attempting to work on it. Once it is on yourcomputer, then you can open the file, make your modifications, save the file, exit out of the program, and copy it back to the network server, external hard drive, or usb flash drive device location. 

Most individuals or companies have an off-site incremental backup run every night, and a full backup at least once a week, so they never lose more than a day's worth of data should something unexpected occur such as a computer virus, hard drive failure, or natural disaster.


This article offers an example of one way to organize your Chief Architect files; however, any method of saving plans and revisions that creates backups, prevents accidental overwrites, and is consistent and easy to use will work.  

To create client/project folders

  1. Create a folder within Documents named Plans

    All of your Plans will be saved here. 

  2. Create a client or project folder for the customer and name it withyour Customer's Name or Job number (Example: WJohnson Remodel).

To save a new file in a client/project folder

  1. Start Home Designer and select File> New Plan  from the menu.

  2. Once a plan template has been chosen, select File> Save As  from the menu and save the blank plan to the client folder. Give the plan the appropriate client name or number (Example: WJohnson Remodel.plan).

  3. Your plan file is now saved in the project folder created for it.

To open a file saved in a client/project folder

  1. Start Home Designer and Select File> Open Plan  from the menu.

  2. Navigate to the client/project folder in your plans directory and select the plan file you'd like to open. 

  3. You are now ready to start drawing.

    Home Designer files may use imported images, textures, PDFs and other custom content saved in their own external data files. Considerstoring copies of all external files in the same folder as the plan and layoutfiles that use them so that they are easily found.