Obtaining Library Content for X3

Reference Number: KB-01136
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

The information in this article applies to Chief Architect X3:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors or Chief Architect Lite


I just installed Chief Architect X3, and the only library content I have is a catalog called "Chief Architect Basic Content".  When I look through this catalog, all I see are previews of items - not the items themselves.  How do I obtain this content so I can use it?


In Chief Architect X3, library content was subscription-based and could be downloaded on an item by item basis but also required that you both subscribe to a catalog, and then download its content.

This subscription-based system was replaced in Chief Architect X4.  Library content is still downloadable, but requires only a single step.  For information about upgrading your Chief Architect X3 license to the latest program version, visit http://www.chiefarchitect.com/products/upgrade.html.

Chief Architect installs with a subscription to the Chief Architect Basic Content catalog, which is a library of symbols, materials, images, and other items that can be used to enhance your drawings.  This content can be downloaded at your convenience, as needed.

To download subscribed library content

  1. Right-click on a library item, library folder, or library catalog in the Library tree view and select Download from the contextual menu.

    • Multiple items can be selected and downloaded using the Ctrl or Shift keys.

    • You can also download items from within the Select Library Objects dialog.

    • If Download is not available in the contextual menu, then either the content has already been downloaded or it is not part of a subscribed catalog.

  2. A progress bar will display at the bottom of the Library Browser.

    • Click in the progress bar to display the percentage of the download completed.

    • Click again in the progress bar to display the number of items downloaded.

    • Click the Pause  button to temporarily stop the download process.

    • Click the Resume  button to continue the paused the download process.

    • Click the Stop  button to cancel the download process entirely. Any data downloaded to that point will be retained, but the download process cannot be started again from the point where it was stopped.

To avoid missing data, do not exit out of Chief Architect while a subscription or download is in progress. If this occurs, you can update the catalog to obtain the missing information, as described below.

If you are a current Support and Software Assurance program member, you will want to subscribe to the SSA Catalog for your particular program version as well as check for additional non-branded bonus content. Additional catalog subscriptions - including dozens of Manufacturer Catalogs - are also available.


About Library Subscriptions

Chief Architect's library catalogs are made available using subscriptions because this offers users a number of valuable advantages:

  • The size of the program installer is reduced, allowing faster downloading and installation.

  • Content can be searched and browsed, and downloaded as needed, at your convenience.

  • Content updates can be easily obtained.

  • Users who routinely share custom content with colleagues can publish their own libraries.

When you subscribe to a library catalog, an index of its contents - including search and preview information for each item - is downloaded and added to your library.  You can download the actual content at any time to best suit your needs:

  • Download individual items or folders of items as you need them. This option is advantageous because it is fast and allows you to control the size of your library database.

  • Download an entire catalog at once. This option is particularly helpful if you do not always have internet access. Downloading an entire catalog may take some time; however, you can perform other tasks in the program while subscribed library content is being downloaded. 

To subscribe to online library catalogs

Current Support and Software Assurance program members can also subscribe to additional library content available on our web site.  In order to subscribe, you first need to log in to your online account.

  1. Browse to either our Manufacturer Catalogs and Content or Bonus Catalogs and Content web page.

  2. Browse to a catalog that you would like to subscribe to and check the box beside Download  located under the catalog description.

    • The Manufacturer Catalogs and Content page is organized by category. To view the catalogs in a category, click the arrow to the left of the category heading to expand it.

    • For the purposes of this example, we will browse on the website to Stone & Brick> Cultured Stone.

    • If you see a link that says Log in to download instead of a Download checkbox, click this link to log in to your online account.  When you log in to your account, you will automatically be returned to the top of the content download page you were on previously.

  3. With the Download checkbox selected, click the Download Selected Catalogs button, located at both the top and bottom of the web page.  

    • If you do not see the button, you may need to scroll up or down on the page. 

  4. You will then be prompted to Open or Save the the file.  If you are given the choice, select Open


  5. As subscription process takes place, you can view the progress of the subscription at the bottom of the Library Browser. 

    • The time required for a subscription to run to completion will vary depending on the size of the catalog as well as your internet connection.

    • You can perform other tasks in the program while the subscription process runs.  It will continue even if you close the Library Browser.  It will, however, be cut short if you exit out of Chief Architect and data may be missing as a result.

    • When the subscription is complete, the progress bar will no longer display and the catalog's contents can be browsed, searched, and downloaded whenever you wish.


If Save is your only option when you click the Download Selected Catalogs button, save the .catom file to an easy to find location on your computer, such as your Windows Desktop, and then follow these steps: 

  1. If Chief Architect X3 is not running, launch it and select File> New Plan .

  2. Select Library> Subscribe to Library Catalog from the menu.

  3. In the Subscribe to Library Catalog dialog:

    • Change the Look in: location to your Windows Desktop, where you have saved the .catom file.

    • Select the file to highlight it so that its name displays in the File Name: field, and click the Open button. 

  4. The subscription process will run in the same manner as described above.

  5. When the subscription is complete, you can delete the saved .catom file, as all necessary subscription information is saved within the library catalog.


Subscribed library content can be browsed, searched using the Library Search feature, and downloaded.  Subscribed content can also be updated, making it easy to obtain the latest content without having to uninstall and reinstall.

To obtain updated library content, simply right-click on a subscribed catalog in the Library Browser tree list and select Update Catalog.  If any updates have been published, the information will download to your library:

  • Downloaded content with updated information will be replaced by new, downloaded content.

  • Content that has not been downloaded and has updated information will receive new search and preview attributes, if applicable.

  • Brand new items will be added to the library catalog and represented with previews, but will not be downloaded automatically.

  • Obsolete content will be removed from the catalog, regardless of whether it has been downloaded.

To delete subscribed library content

Because the SSA Download content includes everything in the Basic Content plus a great deal more, if you choose to subscribe to this catalog, you can delete the Basic Content by following these steps:

  1. Right click on the Chief Architect Basic Content and select Delete.

  2. When prompted, select Yes to move the folder to the trash.

  3. Next, in the Library Browser, scroll down to the Trash folder, right click on it and select Empty Trash.


To find more information on the Library Browser subscription process within the program, select Help> Contents and Index .  Go to the Contents tab, expand out The Library chapter of the Reference Manual, and select the subcategory of Library Catalog Subscriptions.

For information about migrating your custom user libraries forward from Chief Architect X2 and prior, please review the Chief Architect X3 Migration Guide located in your Digital Locker.

To learn about upgrading your Chief Architect X3 license, visit http://www.chiefarchitect.com/products/upgrade.html.