Message: A graphic file cannot be found.

Reference Number: KB-00935 Last Updated: 07-01-2015 11:00 AM

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite


When I open a file created in a previous version of Chief Architect, I see the following message:

"A graphic file cannot be found. This missing graphic could be used as a texture, image, backdrop or picture."

Why is this message appearing?


This Information message displays when the program cannot find the backdrop image or a picture file associated with the plan or layout file you are opening.

If the missing file is associated with an item in the Chief Architect Library, you may be able to resolve the issue simply by downloading the needed library content.

If the missing file is a custom backdrop, image, picture or texture, you have several choices to resolve this issue in the short term:


  • Help the program locate the missing file,
  • Replace the missing file with a new file,
  • Remove the reference to the missing file from the plan or layout in question.


In the longer term though, there are some things you can do to prevent this problem from occurring in the first place.

To locate or replace the missing file

If you know that the graphic file in question is saved on the computer that you are currently using, you can do the following.

  1. Click the Choose Folder button to open the Browse For New Folder For Missing File dialog and direct the program to the file's location.

  2. In this dialog, browse to the location of the graphic file on your computer, select it, and click OK.

    By default, the name of the missing file is selected in the Files of type drop-down.  If you wish to replace the missing file with a file that has a different name, choose "All files" instead.

    Before directing the program to the file's location, you may want to consider copying it in Windows Explorer to a location where it is unlikely to be lost in the future.  Then, open the plan or layout file and point the program to the new location, as described above.  To learn more about organizing your graphics files, read To organize your support files, below


  3. If the graphic file is saved on a different computer, but not on the one you are currently using, you will need to copy it to the machine where it is missing.  There are many ways you can do this: via e-mail, using a removable storage device such as a flash drive, or by copying across a network if you have one.

    Once the file is saved on the computer where it was missing, place it in an appropriate location in Windows Explorer where you will be able to easily direct the program, and where it will not be deleted or moved in the future.

  4. If you know that multiple missing files can be found in the same location on your hard drive, click the Choose Folder button and browse to that folder. The next time the program needs to find a missing file, it will check this location.

To remove the missing file reference from the plan or layout

A third option is to click the Cancel button and open the plan or layout without finding or replacing the missing file, and then removing whatever is referencing that missing file from the drawing:

  • If the missing file is a backdrop, choose a different backdrop on the Backdrops tab of the 3D Settings dialog.

  • If the missing file is an image or picture, locate and either replace it with a different image or picture object, or simply delete it.

  • If the missing file is a texture associated with a material, you will want to locate the object(s) using that material and either edit the material's definition so that it uses a different texture, or replace it with a different material altogether.

    Replacing the image, material or texture with a solid red jpg is a good way to find where the material is used in the plan.

To organize your custom graphic files

To make sure that texture, image, picture and backdrop images referenced by your Chief Architect files are always located by the program, there are some simple file management strategies that you can follow.


  • Save Graphic Files in the Data Folder

    You can save custom graphics in the Backdrops, Images, and Textures folders located in the Chief Architect Data folder.  In a typical installation, the Data folder is located in My Documents. This option is recommended for any graphic files that are associated with items saved in the Chief Architect Library or are likely to be used in more than one plan or layout file. 

  • Save Graphic Files in the Project Folder

    If you have support files that are only applicable to one project, you can copy them into the folder where the plan and layout files for that project are saved.

    To learn more, visit the Guide to File Management article linked in the Related Articles section.

To share custom graphic files

If you need to move a plan or layout file to another computer or share it with another Chief Architect user, it may be important to also move or share the graphic files associated with it, as well. The easiest way to ensure that all such files are include is to use the Backup Entire Plan command.

  1. Open the plan that you want to share with another user or move to another computer.

  2. Select File> Backup Entire Plan  from the menu.

    • In Chief Architect version X2 and prior, select File> Export> Entire Plan.

  3. In the Backup Entire Plan dialog, select Backup All Files (Including Textures, Backdrops and Images) and click OK.

  4. In the Select the Plan Backup Folder dialog, which opens next, browse to the location where you would like to save the exported plan and graphic files.

  5. It is recommended that you export the entire plan to a folder created for this purpose. 

    • When in the location you wish to save the backup right click in an empty space and click New> Folder from the menu
      On a Mac click the New Folder button to create a new folder.

    • Right click on the new folder and Rename it so it can be identified.

  6. When you click Select Folder, a copy of the plan or layout file and associated graphic files are created in the folder.  This folder can be moved to another computer and when the plan or layout is opened, no missing backdrops, images, pictures or textures will be present.