Message: Could not load default template

Reference Number: KB-01866
Last Modified: May 19, 2020

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite


When I try to open a new plan to start a new project, this dialog displays:   

Default Plan Could Not Be Found


I receive the following message: "The default template plan "X" was not found. A new plan will be created without using a template."

What does this mean?


Whenever a new plan file or layout file is opened, all of its default settings are drawn from a template file. This message will display if you try to open a new plan or layout, but the program cannot find the file that you've specified as your template.

In most cases, this is because of an issue writing the template files to the software's Data folder.

When this occurs, choose either Load Installed Template and choose a template from the drop-down menu, or select Load Custom Template, and browse your system for a template file.

If no templates display in the Load Installed Template drop-down or if you're using a Chief Architect X10 or prior program version, renaming the Templates folder may be required to repopulate the default Template files.

To repopulate the Templates folder

  1. Close out of the Chief Architect or Home Designer program.

  2. Navigate to your Documents directory on your system, locate and then open the software's Data folder.

    Example: Chief Architect Premier X12 Data

  3. Rename the Templates folder located here by adding the word OLD to the end of the folder name, so it says: TemplatesOLD.

  4. Relaunch your Chief Architect or Home Designer program.

    You may briefly see a progress indicator as the program copies files to create a new Templates folder.

  5. In Home Designer programs, when you choose the New Plan option, you should now see the templates listed in the Create New Plan dialog and be able to start a new file using one of these styles.

    In Chief Architect programs, if you choose New Plan and continue to receive the same warning, follow the steps below to specify a plan or layout template.

To specify a plan or layout template in Chief Architect

  1. Select Edit> Preferences Preferences from the menu if you're on a Windows computer or Chief Architect> Preferences Preferences if you're on a Mac.

  2. On the New Plans panel of the Preferences dialog, click the radio button beside the measurement system that you typically use: U.S. Units or Metric Units.

    Changing templates in preferences

  3. A Plan Template can be specified underneath your selected measurement system. Click the Browse button to the right of the Plan Template field, then select the plan file that you would like to use as your template.

    • The Select a Plan Template File dialog will open to your Chief Architect Templates folder. Choose a template plan located here, or browse to a different location where you have a custom template saved.

    • Only choose a template file with M.plan at the end of the name if you are using Metric units.

      Never specify a .layout file as your plan template.

    • To avoid the possibility of the program not finding your specified template, make sure it is saved on the local hard drive.

    • To learn more about creating templates, see the Related Articles section at the end of this article. 

  4. A Layout Template can also be specified in the same way.

    • Only choose a template file with M.layout at the end of the name if you are using Metric units.

      Never specify a .plan file as your layout template.