Resolving Unexpected Behavior On a Mac by Redirecting the Data Folder

Reference Number: KB-03116
Last Modified: July 20, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect InteriorsHome Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite


If you run Chief Architect/Home Designer software on a Mac computer and experience any of the symptoms below (or similar symptoms), it may be caused by the Data folder being in iCloud storage. 

  • The software freezes or hangs when creating a new plan or layout. 

  • The software freezes or hangs when accessing the User Catalog in the Library Browser.

  • An error message appears when creating a new plan or layout.

  • An error message appears stating the software cannot read or write to a library database.

  • An error message appears stating it cannot read or cannot find a toolbar configuration.

  • Toolbars are missing when opening or creating a new plan.

  • User Catalog is missing when viewing the Library Browser.


Templates, toolbar configurations, and the User Catalog are all stored in the program's Data folder which resides in your user account's Documents folder by default. These symptoms, as well as others, indicate that the software is having trouble accessing, reading, or writing to the files in the Data folder. If you're on a Mac, you may have iCloud Drive enabled, which might have your Desktop and Documents folders stored in iCloud. Accessing program and plan files over a cloud storage service can cause the symptoms previously mentioned and more severe symptoms like data loss or file corruption. In this article, we'll go over creating a new Data folder on local storage to circumvent the issues caused by having the Data folder in iCloud.

If you'd like to remove your Desktop and Documents folders from iCloud, you can do so by following the instructions in this Apple Support Article.

To verify your Documents folder is on iCloud Drive

Changing the location of the data folder should be out of necessity, so in the following steps, we'll verify that the Documents and Desktop folders are on the iCloud Drive.

  1. Navigate to the Apple  icon located at the top left corner of the screen and select System Preferences.

  2. Next, select the Apple ID icon located at the top of System Preferences.

    In macOS Mojave (10.14) and older operating system versions, click on the iCloud icon instead.

    Open system preferences

  3. Select the Options button next to iCloud Drive.

    Open Apple ID page

  4. If the Desktop and Documents folders are on iCloud Drive, there will be a checkmark next to Desktop & Documents Folders.

    Open iCloud Drive Options...

    At your own discretion, you can remove the Desktop & Document Folders off of the iCloud Drive by clearing the check mark in the adjacent box. If you'd like further assistance managing your iCloud storage, refer to the Apple Support Resource provided at the beginning of this article or contact Apple Support.

Creating a Data folder on local storage

In this example, a Data folder will be created and placed in the Home/User folder. However, the Data folder can be placed in another preferred location outside of the Documents and Desktop folders if you wish.

  1. Open Finder, select the Go menu, and click Home.

    Open Home folder through Finder

  2. Right click on the open space of the folder to create a new folder with the exact name of your software's Data folder. The Data folder will be the full name of your software version with the beginning letter of each word capitalized.

    In this example, a Data folder is created for X12 so the folder is named: Chief Architect Premier X12 Data

    Create new Data folder

    Note: If you are not sure you have entered the name of the Data folder correctly, refer to Step 1 of the next section.

Specifying the location of the Data folder in Preferences

  1. Open your Chief Architect or Home Designer software, select the Chief Architect/Home Designer menu, and click on Preferences .

  2. On the Folders panel of the Preferences dialog:

    Edit Data Folder path in Preferences

    • Click Browse under the My Data Folder section and select the Data folder that was created in the previous section.

      In this example, the folder was placed in the Home/User folder, so the path is:  /Users/Chief Architect/Chief Architect Premier X12 Data/

      In your case, the path may be: /Users/[YOUR USERNAME]/Chief Architect Premier X12 Data/

    • Once you've specified the new location, click OK to confirm the changes.

  3. Close the software completely and re-open the software for the changes to take effect.

    If you still receive error messages related to reading and writing files after specifying your new Data folder, the software may not have the proper access to this file location. See Step 3 of "Troubleshooting Chief Architect Software Closing Unexpectedly on a Mac" in the Related Articles section below.

    If you notice that you're missing files in your User Catalog, or Templates that you have used previously, please see the articles in the Related Articles section below to learn how to copy and paste these files into the new Data folder.