Organizing Your Plan Files

Reference Number: KB-00585
Last Modified: April 1, 2020

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite


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's a very important skill to develop. In order to use your computer effectively, it's vital to know how to save your work properly, where it's 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. 

Working on files over a network server, external hard drive, cloud storage service, or USB flash drive device is not recommended as file corruption and data loss can occur.

These options can, however, be a good way to back up your data. But always remember to copy the file from that location to your local machine's hard drive before attempting to work on it. Once it's 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. 

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.


This article offers an example of one way to organize your Home Designer 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 or Projects

    All of your plans, layouts, and other associated files will be saved here.

  2. Create a client folder for the customer you're working with and name it to your liking. A Customer's Name or Job number works well. 

    Example: WJohnson Remodel

    Documents> Plans> 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.


It's best to open plan and layout files from another computer or flash drive, and then immediately save the plan and layout to the local computer before working on them. Then, open the plan and layout from the local computer, do your work, then save your work locally as well as to the desired folder on the originating computer or flash drive. This way you have a backup of the plan should something go wrong. This also helps avoid data corruption that can occur when working across a network or on an external drive.

It's also recommended that you use the backup entire plan/project tool when backing up or sharing plan or layout files. Using this tool will ensure that whoever opens the plan or layout file will have all of the texture files associated with a plan, or all of the plan files associated with a layout. For information on using the backup entire plan/project tool, please see the Related Articles section below.