Chief Architect Premier


Chief Architect Interiors

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3D Rendering & Visualization

Perspective & Orthographic 3D Camera tools

Orthographic is ideal for cross section and elevation views. Perspective is ideal for Full Overview, Floor Overview (Doll House), Floor Camera, Full Camera , and Framing Views. Camera views can be named, edited, and saved. Use 3D Settings Controls to adjust the display options and settings.

Copy Saved Cameras

Duplicate perspective and overview cameras in the same plan, or between existing plans, to easily replicate angle, direction, and other camera attributes.

Isometric View Tools

View designs from any of the eight standard Isometric viewing angles.

Export 360° Spherical Views

Ray Traced and Rendered cameras can be shared locally and to the cloud, and in apps and embedded in websites for interactive navigation. Export Render Views at a resolution of up to 8192 x 4096.

3D Navigation Tools & Virtual Tours

Create 3D views and navigate, spin, rotate, pan, orbit, tilt, and move forward or backward. Use the View Direction Tools to quickly set the view to top down, left side, right side or bottom angles.

Responsive 3D Navigation

Significant speed improvements in camera views while navigating the scene.

iOS Compatible Movies

Record walk-throughs and animations that you can share to watch on your iOS devices. Available in the Mac version only.

Walkthrough Tools

Create detailed walkthrough recordings along paths. Add key frames at any point on the spline to control view direction and speed; walk up or down stairs and to span walkthrough between floors.

3D Orbit Mode

Use [ALT + Middle Mouse] button controls to enter Orbit mode; system returns to previous edit state when buttons are released

Reflections and Fast Shadows in Render Views

Quickly generate views where mirrors show reflections, sunlight streams through windows, and objects cast shadows. Navigate these scenes in real-time. Save reflection and shadow settings with the camera.

Sun and Shadow Controls per Camera

Optionally specify that the sun is anchored to the active camera and illuminates the scene from the same angle as the view or choose to save the orientation of the sunlight for each camera in your design; preserve the sun angle in views sent to layout. Control whether shadows are generated through defaults for perspective and orthographic cameras, or toggle them ON or OFF and save the state with a particular view

Opaque Glass in Camera Views

Set glass to appear as solid fill (non-transparent) in camera views. Choose to show glass as opaque or transparent by default per Render Technique, or adjust individual views

Display Shadows on Elevations

Turn on shadows in vector elevation and section views to display lighting effects and shadows for overhangs and other architectural elements.

Control Shadow Intensity

Control the darkness of shadows in Vector Views and Technical Illustration views using an intensity slider.

Enhanced Render Features

Ambient Occlusion, Bloom, and Bump Maps are all optional elements that can be used in Rendered Views.

Normal Maps

Specify Normal Maps in Material Definitions to add depth and realism to materials for Rendered and Ray Traced views. For example, show the depth of board and batten siding, texturing on drywall, and grout in brick.

Photo Realistic Rendering

The Chief Ray Tracer offers significant performance improvement with its ability to use multiple core processors. Lighting and materials have specific properties that can be set for very photo realistic rendering. Export common image formats for presentations and marketing use.

Ray Trace Assistant

Predefined and editable settings for indoor and outdoor scenes jump start your photo realistic ray trace renderings.

Progressive Ray Tracing

Preview ray trace renders as they refine and iterate image quality; export the image at any time or define the amount of time for the ray trace from 1 minute to 24 hours or an unlimited time.

Specify Ray Trace Size in Inches or Millimeters

Set the number of pixels per inch to specify High or Low Resolution.

3D Focal Blur Control of Ambient Light

Use depth of field in Ray Traced views, just like a real camera. Create renderings that exhibit similar detail as real photography. Enhanced control of ambient light within Ray Tracing.

Save Image Settings with Ray Trace Configurations

Preserve settings like tone mapping, intensity, contrast, and saturation to reuse in ray traces.

Generated Sky Model

Create a realistic sky that updates with time of day; control the level of haze.

Artistic Rendering Techniques

3D Standard Render, Watercolor, Squiggle Line Drawing, Technical Illustration, Painting, Vector View, Glass House, and DuoTone render modes transform the look and feel of a scene in real-time.

Advanced Render Technique Defaults

Use Pre-set attributes or customize your own for the different Render Technique styles. For example, set the squiggle amount for Line Drawing or the colors for Technical Illustration.

Fast Line Drawing Views

Rendered views using the hand drawing or "sketched" feature (Water Color with Line Drawing, and Line Drawing) are as fast to generate as other Rendering Techniques.

Cross Section Render Technique controls

Access the render techniques for Cross Section views through the camera specification dialog.

Cross Section Slider™

Show views being cut from the top, bottom, front, back, left and right side. Adjust the amount cut away from the model.

Delete / Remove Surface tool

Temporarily remove surfaces in 3D views to expose and visualize the underlying model.

Cross Sections & Elevations

Cross Sections, Back-Clipped Cross Sections & Elevations

 Use the orthographic camera to create an elevation or cross section view. Back-Clipped Cross Section views control the cut distance generated for a cross section. Cross Sections can also be clipped at the sides to control the width of view.

Nudge Move in Elevation Cameras

Move items incrementally using the arrow keys.

Auto-generate Exterior & Interior Room Elevations

Stepped Cutting Plane Cross-Section

Generate Cross Section Views along a custom plane and use breaks to create steps in the Cross-Section.

Dimension, Annotate and Detail Cross Sections & Elevation Views

Use the text, arrow, dimension, and CAD tools to add complete details to your Cross Section and Elevation views. Select and edit, delete, resize, or move objects. Add notes and dimensions or insert CAD details.

Automatic Labels in Elevations

Generate schedule callouts and labels for windows, doors, cabinets, and other items in Cross-Section and Elevation views.

Show Cameras as Callouts

Easily set up view callouts directly from the camera object. Show Elevation, Section, and Cross-Section cameras as Callouts in Plan Views. Add callout labels and descriptions; callouts remain when sent to layout.

Automatically Populate Camera Callouts with Layout Page Information

Choose to include layout page label in camera callout second line text. Callout information automatically updates if layout label is changed.

Control Plan Display of Cross Section Camera Callouts

Choose to display Cross Section Camera Callouts on all floors or on camera owner floor only.

CAD Details Catalog & Auto-Detailing tool

Toggle between displays for insulation and fill patterns. Choose from over 500 CAD Details in the premium SSA catalog to overlay on your design.

Opening Indicators – Doors, Windows & Cabinets

Show or hide opening indicators for hinge side of doors, windows and cabinet using Layers in Elevation, Cross Section, and Plan views.

Plans & Layouts

Layout tool – for construction documents

Layout sheets are used to organize plans, elevations, CAD details, schedules, site plans, and other items for construction documents. The drawings can be scaled and printed at any size. All views are dynamically linked to the original model reflecting any update you make. Reorder the Layout pages for construction documents. Create templates for Layouts with borders and title blocks.

Set up multiple Pages per Layout File

1000 Pages

200 Pages

Advanced Layout Editing

Edit line views sent to the layout, rescale views sent to layout, re-link views on the layout to reference different files.

Live Layout Views

Specify views that have been sent to layout to update in real time, or use edit tools and menu commands to update the view directly from the layout page.

Send Colorized Elevations to Layout

Generate fully detailed Section and Elevation views and send them to layout in color mode; views will retain scale, can reflect Render Techniques, and can be automatically updated in real-time.

Perspective Layout Views

Create perspective views and send them to a layout and retain the view’s link to the plan; easily transition to camera view and update it to the layout. Unlike an image sent to layout, these views can be printed at high resolution.

Plot Line Layout Views with Shadows

Send views to layout as Plot Line views with controls over line weights; choose to include shadows and color fill in the view.

Group Edit Layout Views

Select multiple layout views and modify their display modes and updating properties at once.

Center Objects in Layout

Use the Center Object tool to quickly orient items on layout pages.

Layout Page Information Dialog

Access and control information specific to each layout page like page label and revision information.

Layout Page Table

Create drawing schedules, like Table of Contents, for layouts by controlling each page’s attributes such as Label, Title, Description, and Comments.

Layout Page Macros

Create macros for page label, title, description, and comments for individual layout pages. Macros move with pages as they are edited and re-ordered.

Automatic Layout Page Numbering

Use the ‘#’ character in a Layout Page Number Label to automatically number the pages sequentially.

Document Revisions for Layouts

Revisions can be noted for changes to any layout page and displayed in a Revision Table with information such as; revision number, authors’ info, date, description, and label. Current (or last) revision can be displayed using macros.

Control Layout Template Pages

Specify multiple Template pages in a Layout and assign individual pages to reference a template.

Reference Display Drawing Order

Control whether the reference display sent to Layout is drawn on top or beneath the active floor.

Update Reference Display and Annotation Sets Used in Layout Views

Use the Plan View controls in the Layout Box Specification dialog to update the Reference Display and Annotation Sets used.

Delete Active Layout Pages

Delete any un-needed layout page whether or not it contains any content.

Catalog Library Browser

Choose from thousands of items. Download new content from Chief Architect or from third party sources. The Library includes generic and manufacturer brands.

Project Browser

A project organization tool to manage and navigate project files, floors, elevations, cross sections, 3D views, cameras, and CAD details. Rename cameras, view multiple projects at once, easily access details and share them between projects.

Independent Control of Library Browser and Project Browser

View the Library Browser and the Project Browser as tabs of the same window, or disconnect them to view them simultaneously and independently.

Manage Layout Pages through the Project Browser

Delete, insert new, and edit layout page information from the Project Browser. Layout pages display with different icons in the Project Browser for template pages, blank pages, and pages that will print.

Drag to Reorder Layout Pages

Use the Project Browser to drag-and-drop to change the sequence of Layout pages.

Create CAD Details from within the Project Browser

Right-click context menu allows new CAD Details to be created and named as needed.

Design Structures with multiple Floors

30 Floors

10 Floors

Excludes attic and basement or foundation.

Set Heights by Absolute or Relative Position

When editing objects, specify heights or offsets based on Absolute location in plan, or the object’s relative position to other plan locations.

Plan Templates

Choose pre-defined Plan Templates or create your own.

Time Tracker™ tool

Measure working time per project, per client, or per task. Start and stop the Time Tracker. View, edit, and export a time log, and add notes for each project. Time Tracker automatically re-starts with you as you work in a design.

Plan Database tool

Create a plan database to organize your plan portfolio.

Plan Check tool

Provides a review for basic room egress, roof, wall layout, and more.

Rotate & Flip Plan tools

Use Flip Plan to create a mirrored version of your design. Use Rotate Plan to change the orientation of the floor plan on your screen.

Import Multiple Pictures at Once

Similar to importing .PDFs, import a series of reference images into a view.

Crop Picture Images Added to Plan and Layout

Crop handles allow picture boundaries to be reduced or enlarged.

Insert & Exchange Floors

Use the Floor Above/Below tool to insert and exchange floors. Insert new Floors or levels between existing floors.

Draw Order Controls

Use the Draw Order Edit Tools to fully control the display of items in plan view in relation to each other. Move object forward and backward in a group, or move to different drawing groups altogether.

R-Value Controls

Specify R-values for walls, floors, ceilings, and platforms.

Space Planning Assistant

Drag-and-drop room bubbles and arrange them before converting them to walls. Provides a quick way to lay out rooms that adjoin the project to illustrate how the completed project would look.

Open Specification Dialog for Space Planning Room Boxes

Adjust attributes, like fill and label, for room boxes.

Model Maker™

Print designs that can be assembled into 3D Models.

Loan Calculator tool

Calculate mortgage payments.

Home Designer® Plan Share

Share Chief Architect® plans with the consumer / DIY Home Designer® products of the same release version. Your clients can use this for floor/space planning and change colors, materials and textures. Features a Plan Lock to prevent Home Designer from editing the Plan file. See for more information about Home Designer®.

Chief Architect Viewer file compatibility

Share your Chief Architect design files with clients using the free Chief Architect Viewer software.


Room Defaults – ceiling height, style, moldings, wall covering, floor materials

Control the initial behavior by specifying default values. Define room attributes by room type.

Custom Room Definitions

Create and specify room types to customize the available rooms list to suit your most common needs and regional naming conventions.

Specify when a room is calculated in the Living Area

For example, specify the garage or attic to be included or excluded in the living area calculation.

Define Conditioned or Unconditioned Spaces

Specify rooms as conditioned, unconditioned, or use the room type’s default to generate insulation calculations on the materials list.

Name individual Rooms

Name individual rooms from a defined list of types or create new names. Custom Room Label controls - assign room types as well as custom room labels. Rooms display dimensions with interior area measurements. Multiple Room Select to group edit the Room attributes.

Custom Room Label controls

Assign room types as well as custom room labels.

Room Label Dimension Format Defaults

Define the display of the dimensions supplied with a room label. Edit units, fraction or decimal display and other settings much like standard dimension formats.

Control over new Room specifications when additional floors are added

Use the Floor Defaults dialog to set up a new floor’s attributes.

Display any combination of Room Label Size Layers

Display the Dimensional Size and the Square Footage labels for a room at one time.

Accurately Layered Floor & Ceiling Platforms

3D model includes Finished Floor and Finished Ceiling layers. Use these layers to add dimension details and define floor coverings, finishes, and sub-layers.

Floor Material Region Tool

Create floor inlays and other floor finish configurations without room boundaries.

Raised Floor Platforms

Specify raised floor platforms that are automatically framed.

Short Ceilings for Rooms within Larger Rooms

Create plant shelves, shorter closets, or other rooms that have a lower ceiling than the greater space and control the ceiling platform and materials automatically.

Molding display control by Room

Specify height, width, and orientation of moldings from floor or ceiling. Control the display of moldings in any room type.

Room Molding Polyline & 3D Molding Polylines tool

Automatically generate a molding polyline derived from the room's perimeter. Reshape the polyline as desired and attach multiple molding profiles. Designate sizes for each profile and specify its height off the floor. 3D Molding Polylines create horizontal and vertical moldings.

No Molding / Railing on Selected Edge

Easily access the control for including or removing moldings and railings on a polyline through an Edit Toolbar toggle.

Room Polyline

Automatically generate a polyline derived from the room's perimeter. Use the polyline tools to generate a Materials List, view the area, or convert to a molding, slab, and other custom options.

Room Polygon tool

Create a Room automatically with pre-specified dimensions.

Room Divide Tool

Create separations of rooms without walls using the Room Divide Tool – great to differentiate flooring for rooms.


Wall tools

Wall Styles include interior, exterior, railing, pony, half wall, curved, angled, raked, stepped. All styles are customizable with unique layers. Wall Types include structural wood, stucco, steel, ICF, SIPS, glass block, railings.

Draw and edit Walls in 2D and 3D

Create custom Wall styles with multiple layers

Use controls in the Wall Type Definition dialog to easily move wall layers toward the interior or exterior of the wall, set materials, and define individual properties of each wall layer. All the Wall layers calculate into the Materials List.

Wall Defaults

Default controls for interior and exterior walls; use Set As Default to update values for default walls.

Store Walls in Library Browser

Add custom wall definitions to the Library for reuse.

Wall Labels

Specify wall labels or generate automatic labels when Wall Details are created. Cross-reference wall details in Project Browser with walls in plans and use macros to create dynamic wall labels.

Half-Wall tool

Draw half walls and specify their default values (also known as solid railings). Include wall assembly layers and control them just as you would a standard wall.

Paint One Wall

Quickly change the material on the surface of a single wall in a room

Wall Material Region Tool

Design wall areas specifying different materials and assemblies.

Wall Niches

Create recesses in walls like a shower niche or wall display. Define the niche depth, casing, arch, and other attributes similar to windows.

Railing Tools

Interior Railings Only

Specify interior and exterior railing styles with unique attributes like newels, balusters, materials, handrails, and heights.

Rail & Shoe Controls on Railings

Specify size, shape, and custom profiles for top rail, middle rail, bottom rail and beam. Control the height off of floor for the bottom rail (shoe) for Railings and Ramp Railings.

Railing Top and Bottom Rail

Specify railings and fences with symbol panels, then define the size, and profile of the hand railing and shoe rail separately.

Control the Thickness of Railing Panels

Separate controls for the thickness of balusters and railing panels that are inserted into railings.

Pony Walls

For a two section Wall, define materials for each section. Control window and door display, dimensions, framing, alignment between floors. Adjust the height of individual Pony Walls by typing the lower wall’s height into the dialog.

Double Walls for Marriage Walls and Multi-Family Units

Includes window and door control.

Multiple Framing Layers in Wall

Create wall types with multiple framing layers and automatically generate framing for both layers; ideal for furred basement walls.

Thru-Wall Controls

Specify wall intersections / framing on a per wall end basis using the Thru-Wall attribute. Turn ON or OFF Thru-Wall connection display in plan view.

Support for ICF and SIP Wall Connections

Specify multiple main layers for wall types to represent construction types such as ICF and SIP walls.

Control Wall Connection Layer Intersections

Manually control wall intersections by dragging the intersecting wall to snap to a specific layer of another wall.

Create Raked & Stepped Walls

Control heights of walls, add breaks and adjust in Cross Section and Elevation views. Define stepped foundations with vertical footing control.

Wall Align tool

Align walls on another floor (individually or group selected). Toggle the floor reference to see through to the floor above or below.

Automatic Attic Walls

Control creation and options.

Steel Framing with C-Channels & U-Channels

Specify steel framing members and show them in 3D Framing views.

Set up designs for Remodeling

Place New, Existing, Demolition and Remodeling Walls on unique layers.

Wall Editing Flexibility

Adjust wall lengths by selecting dimensions or temporary dimensions that run parallel to the wall.

Continuous Wall Draw mode

Right click to enable continuous wall drawing mode - speeds up wall draw time.

Terrain Walls

Terrain Walls follow terrain contours.

Wall Corner Boards & Quoins

Place Corner Boards and Quoins at wall intersection corners. Set default size and material attributes.

Auto Place and Delete Corner Boards and Quoins

Automatically add trim details to wall corners. Option to delete all corner boards and quoins on a per floor or per plan basis through the Delete Objects dialog.


Smart Cabinet Tools

Create any style of Cabinet using the smart parametric tools including Framed, Frameless, Curved, Angled and Bow. Adjust drawers, face frames, doors, styles, shapes, shelves, moldings, backsplashes, appliances, countertops and several other items. Use a specification dialog to define and customize your Cabinets.

Specify Cabinet Top Height

Quickly adjust wall cabinet heights to the same level using the floor to top control in the Cabinet Specification Dialog

Manufacturer Catalogs & Smart Parametric Cabinets

Cabinet catalogs include door and drawer styles, colors, wood species, and accessories.

Top and Bottom Hinged Cabinet Doors

Design cabinets with awning and hopper style doors.

Define Cabinet Defaults

Control the initial behavior by specifying default values - define, colors, sizes, doors and drawer styles, moldings, materials, countertops, hardware, and several other attributes for the cabinets as you begin a new design.

Dynamic Cabinet Face Defaults

Configure the default cabinet front to automatically update cabinets in the design that are set as “Use Default”; configure a single cabinet in a plan and use “Set as Default” to update other cabinets to match.

Show Cabinet Doors Open

Use layers and controls in the cabinet dialog to draw doors and drawers open in 2D and 3D views.

Hide Cabinet Doors

Use the "Cabinets, Doors & Drawers" layer to show or hide their display in Elevation, Plan (when drawn open), and Perspective Views.

Edit Multiple Cabinets’ Configuration at Once

Group select cabinets and modify their face items at one time to create similar cabinets easily.

Multiple Faced Cabinets

Use the Split Items button to add horizontal and vertical layout of doors and drawers on any cabinet. Create Entertainment Centers and Vanity cabinets with doors on one side and drawers on the other.

Cabinet Face Item Locking

Lock editing on cabinet face items as you modify a cabinet to more easily control the manipulation of the cabinet front. Size of appliances inserted into cabinet fronts are given higher priority, preventing them from being resized less frequently as the cabinet’s face items are modified.

Multiple Door and Drawer styles per cabinet

Assign different door or drawer styles to a single cabinet; wall cabinets with glass doors on top; drawer bases with slab and panel drawers.

Cabinet Hardware per Drawer

Control the hardware attached to any door or drawer on a single cabinet separately.

Separate Material for Cabinet Components

Apply a separate material to each cabinet element, including shelves, toe kicks, individual doors and drawers, cabinet feet, moldings, and countertops.

National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) Standardized

Cabinet display options conform to NKBA standards including countertops, line styles, labels and more. NKBA approved software for professional certification testing.

Place Multiple Appliances in a cabinet

Add an oven and a warming drawer to the same cabinet; adjust or replace the appliance type by editing it in the Cabinet Specification dialog.

Evenly Space Doors and Drawers on Cabinet Fronts

Use the Equalize Layout button on Horizontal and Vertical Layouts to space their components equally.

Custom Countertop Tool

Draw and edit countertops manually. Add countertop holes, edge profiles, adjust the thickness and height off the floor. Dialog preview allows you to visualize a custom counter as you manipulate its properties.

Convert Automatic Countertops to Custom Countertops

Change the automatically generated countertop to a custom countertop that can be edited and resized independently from the cabinet.

Countertop Edge Molding

Control the display of edge molding applied to custom countertops.

Rounded Cabinet and Countertop Corners

Specify rounded or chamfered corners on a cabinet box and Automatic Countertops.

Control Counter Overhang

Control the overhang distance of automatic countertops for each side of a cabinet.

Custom Backsplash Tool

Click to generate a Custom Backsplash that automatically fits around cabinets, openings, and appliances.

Cabinet Moldings

Add crown moldings, light rails, dentil and rope molding details to Cabinets

Easily create Stacked Molding

Add multiple moldings to objects and specify vertical and horizontal offset distances with different Molding Profiles to create stacked moldings.

Cabinet Millwork & End Panels

Pilasters, feet, legs, and moldings. All resize automatically as the cabinet changes. Attach End Panels to the sides and back of cabinets. Panels can be set to be automatically generated when an end or back is exposed, or they can be manually turned on or off. Control materials by specifying finished, unfinished, or automatic sides. The automatic feature can determine if the cabinet is exposed or against another cabinet.

Cabinet Feet Flexibility

Control cabinet feet attached to cabinets, such as including toe-kick with feet and controlling feet attached to adjacent cabinets.

Cabinet Closed Toe Always Present

Set cabinet toekick to closed on a per-cabinet basis, regardless of the cabinet being connected or adjacent to other cabinets.

Set Defaults for Cabinet Side Panels

Specify cabinet side panels to ‘Use Default’ to quickly update and change side panel style.

Integrated Side Panels

When creating cabinets with Inset Doors, specify integrated side panels; control the frame sizes for sides to produce a singular recessed side panel or an inset side panel.

Match Front Option for Cabinet Sides

Automatically specify that the side configuration of a cabinet matches the front; create peninsula end cabinets with matching panels on exposed sides.

Edit Configuration of Sides, Back, and Front of Cabinets Independently

Choose to match the sides and back of a cabinet’s configuration to its front, or individually customize the layout of panels, doors, drawers and appliances for any side of a cabinet

Cabinet Fillers

Create cabinet fillers automatically between cabinets, or add them manually.

Frameless and Framed Cabinet Controls

Change the cabinet style in one click with the Frameless and Full Overlay options for cabinets.

Blind Corner Cabinet Controls

Turn On or Off Automatic Blind Corner Cabinet behavior.

Cabinet Mounted Electrical

Attach outlets and switches to the sides of cabinet boxes, soffits, and panels. Outlets will automatically snap to, and move with, cabinets with which they are associated.

Architectural Blocks

Save any Cabinet, group of Cabinets, or an entire room of Cabinets as an Architectural Block and store in the Library for future use. Unblock the cabinet grouping and modify as needed. For example, store kitchen islands or an entire kitchen in your library for future designs.

Architectural Blocks act as Cabinets

Controls such as default layer, library preview display, floor to bottom height, plan view display, and bounding box size allow Architectural Blocks to act as better representations of cabinet units like bathroom vanities.

Regular & Sloped Soffits

Generate sloped soffits that automatically match roof or ceiling pitch, or manually adjust slope. Control the initial behavior by specifying default values.

Control Soffit Molding

Specify whether soffits interact with room molding from within the Soffit Specification dialog.

Doors & Windows

Custom Door & Window tools

Create any style of Door, Doorway, and Window including Arched, Shaped and Mulled. Use the Smart Parametric tools. Doors styles include interior, exterior, sliding, pocket, bi-fold, atrium, double-swing, and garage. Hardware Library - Hinges, Handles and Locks. Window styles include interior, exterior, single/double hung, sliding, casement, corner, recessed, bay, and box.

Smart Parametric Doors & Windows

Catalog Doors have interior and exterior material settings. Define colors and wood species.

Door Defaults by Door Type

Set unique door defaults for different types of doors: hinged, pocket, bifold, sliding, and garage.

Pass-Thru tool

Create an opening between two rooms.

Glass Louver Window Type

Choose the Glass Louver window type and adjust louver size to create Jalousie Windows.

Corner Windows

Bump windows together at wall corners and choose to include or remove the corner post at the sash joint to create a glass corner

Atrium Door options

Create Center Swing Double-Doors, also known as atrium patio doors. Define a variety of other ways to open the doors.

Mulled Door and Windows

Create custom Mulled door and window blocks. Move, dimension, and label them as single units and add them to the Library. Mulled Units that contain Doors are automatically recognized as Door objects for Schedules and Schedule Labels.

Visual Door Placement Feedback

Visualize door placement prior to actually placing the door with intuitive control of the hinge and swing.

3D Door Display Options

Edit tools “Show Door Open in 3D” and “Show Door Closed in 3D” make it fast and easy to control the state of doors in 3D views. Adjust the Hinge/Swing Amount for Bi-fold doors.

Specify Doors as Safety or Fire Doors

Use setting to indicate if a door is a fire door, which will be reflected in the door schedule.

Specify Number of Hinges for Doors

Control the number of hinges displayed for all door types.

Windows and Doors for Double Walls

Control openings for double walls in multi-family and marriage wall configurations; specify double units or single units that span both walls.

Window and Door Casings Display in Plan View

Display or hide interior and exterior casings using the “Casings, Interior” and “Casings, Exterior” layers.

Control Trim for Interior Doors and Windows

Separately specify the materials and trim assigned to each side of an opening.

Objects Bump at Casings

Move cabinets, furniture, or other objects and bump to stop their movement when encountering door and window casings .

Control Plan Display of Symbol Windows

Assign custom CAD Blocks to symbol windows, like Garden Windows, to control their display in Plan View.

Automatic Frame Depth

Set window frame depth to automatically fit into wall.

Place Windows and Doors at Wall Joints

Span windows and doors at the intersection of multiple walls or at wall breaks to accurately represent the placement of openings in a variety of construction situations.

Divided Lites for Openings

Create Windows and Glass Doors with an unlimited number of lites.

Custom Muntins

Design your own muntins using the CAD tools and attach them to windows.

Window Treatments & Shutters

Adjust curtains by the height off floor and height above casing. Specify shutters on either side of a window. Blinds fit inside casing when attached to Windows.

Symbol Based Shutters for Doors and Windows

Attach shutter objects from the Library Browser to doors and windows through the Shutter tab of the specification dialog – control their height and vertical position.

Door & Window Lintels & Sills

Specify sills, lintels, and aprons for openings and set the height, width, and overhang. Attach custom symbols to Window or Door casing and set the height and width.

Bay, Box, Bow Windows

Select then edit a group of bay, box or bow windows. Specify width, depth, and height from floor and ceiling of Bay/Box/Bow Windows within dialog; control the structure of the units, including wall type, ceiling and floor platforms, and roofing.

Window Glazing Area and U-Factor for Doors and Windows

Roofs & Ceilings

Automatic Roofs

Create gable, hip, shed, gambrel, mansard, and other roof styles automatically. Use the Auto-Rebuild Roofs feature to automatically update the roof as your design changes. Define Roof attributes per eave wall including multiple Roof Pitches & Overhangs

Build Roof Options

Controls for Custom Ceilings Only

Specify pitch, overhang, raise off plate for energy heels, curved roof information, framing details, fascias, gutters, exposed rafters and roof returns and many other options. Includes roof and ceiling framing and trusses. See the Framing section for details.

Roof Defaults

Access controls for the automatic roof through the Defaults dialog alongside the other defaults in the project.

Roof Gable Line tool

Draw a line over a door or window and the program will automatically generate Gable roof. Specify the pitch and overhang for the gable within the line’s specification dialog.

Gable & Hip Roof Toggle Tool

Toggle the roof between these two styles using the Gable / Hip tool in 3D and 2D.

Auto Roof Returns™ for Gable Walls

Gable, Hip, Full, Sloping and Flat.

Auto Dormer™ tool

Generate floating (false) and structural dormers automatically. Set the dormer size, roof pitch, and accurately place them on a roof. Dormers types – eyebrow, gable, hip, shed, gambrel, mansard, barrel, and hip curved.

Roof Assembly Controls

Create roof assemblies with multiple layers, much like floor and ceiling platforms; great for specifying SIP roofs.

Draw and Edit Roofs in 2D and 3D

Design with both the 2D and 3D views up at the same time to visualize the changes in design.

Automatic Ceilings & Ceiling Tools

Automatic ceilings are created once a roof is generated. Manual Ceilings can be drawn and modified to reflect non-standard ceiling designs; create cathedral, tray, coffered, and barrel ceilings.

Ceiling Planes Relative to Floor

Custom ceiling planes can be set as "Relative to Floor" to easily locate them in reference to floor levels other than level 1.

Actual and Projected Area of Roof Planes

Macros and references to both the Actual and the Projected square footage of Roof Planes in the roof dialog’s Polyline tab.

Control Rafter Spacing per Roof Plane

Specify rafter spacing values for individual roof planes in a design.

Fascia & Sub Fascia control

Control the size and display of fascia boards.

Flush End Boxed Eaves

Auto-generate boxed roof soffits that are flush at gable walls and control their materials.

Gutters & Frieze Moldings

Create custom profiles for gutters and friezes. Attach them to roofs so that they update and resize as the roof design changes.

Shadow Boards

Apply Shadow Boards to the fascia of roof planes automatically. Specify molding profiles and stack moldings to create the desired molding build-up.

Ridge Caps

Non-Editable Ridge Caps

Automatically generate Ridge Caps on roofs; turn ridge caps on/off on a per roof basis; assign custom ridge cap profiles.


Automatically cut the roof with correct structural framing. Define Square or Plumb sides and frame width and height.

Stairs & Ramps

Stair Tool

Specify tread width, length, tread number, overhang, and thickness. Set riser height, top and bottom height. Specify details about stringers, open underneath, runners, railing details, baluster and newel styles and shapes, brackets, handrails on walls next to stairs, around corners, and hand rail profile. Specify riser heights, tread width, start height, and bottom height.

One-Click™ Stairs & Ramps

Excludes Terrain

Auto place stairs from platform to platform. Platform to terrain Stairs and Ramps automatically connect to the terrain when drawn from the ground to the structure.

Auto L-Shaped and U-Shaped Stairs

Use the L and U stair tools to automatically drop stairs with landings into plans; stairs will orient and snap to adjacent walls.

Advanced Stair tools

Customize curved sections, flared treads, starter treads, winders, definable walk line, maintainable tread width, and landings.

Visual Feedback while Placing Stairs

While in stair mode, see feedback of stair's location and orientation before dropping into the design. Stairs will snap to, rotate, and align with nearby walls when dropped in a view.

Detailed Plan Display

Display tread overhang as dashed lines on stairs in plan view, also choose to show or hide stair stringers using its layer while controlling the line style and color. Include and control the display of a cut or break line for stair display in plan view; use a drag handle to position the break line, or specify in the dialog.

Wrap Around Stairs

Connect treads around corners to form stairs for decks and other specialty spaces.

Auto Stairwell™

Creates stairwell and the platform to match the staircase.

Stair Defaults for Interior & Exterior Stairs

Set up defaults for stairs to create the same custom style every time.

Stair and Ramp Dialog Preview

While editing the properties of stairs or ramps, see modifications in the dialog’s live preview.

Ramp Tool

Default Ramp is ADA compliant. Specify length, slope rise and run. Specify overhangs, railings, tread surface, open underneath, baluster and newel styles, shapes, and hand rail profile.

Ramp Defaults

Set up default attributes for ramps.

Landing Tool

Create Custom Landings to auto-connect Stair sections or Ramp sections together. Choose auto adjust features for the height and thickness based on stair or ramp connection. Turn railings on or off per Landing edge.

Landing Controls

Modify railings on landings independently from stairs. Dialog preview allows you to visualize your landing as you manipulate its properties.

Stair Landing Labels

Display and customize labels for stair landing polylines.

Stair Railings

Railings specified for stairs can be customized with the following elements; rail style (balusters, open, middle rail, panels), multiple rails and their controls, newel spacing and offset, and baluster spacing.

Stair Railings in Plan View

Display stair railing, newels, and balusters in plan view; include fill styles on railings.

Stair Handrail Returns and Extensions

Specify returns at each of a stair’s handrails and specify horizontal extension lengths to meet code requirements for stair handrails .

Custom Newels & Balusters

Choose from newels and balusters in the Library Catalog or import your own.

Newel and Baluster Spacing

Specify newel and baluster spacing; define multiple newels along the stair and set baluster spacing per tread and along bottom rail.

Independent Railings

Create custom railing styles such as glass, cable, or panels.

Railings Follow Stairs

Specify railings adjacent to stairways and choose whether or not the railing slopes with the stair.

Railing Opening & Wall Surface Offset

Control whether an automatic opening is created when attaching a Stair or Ramp to a wall or railing. Control the offset of the automatic wall surface under a Stair.


Foundation Tools for Slab, Pier, Crawlspace, Full Basement, Stem Walls, Footings, Post & Beam, Grade Beam

Excludes Pier Foundations and custom controls over footings and slabs

Set up a default foundation type, controlling stem-wall height, footing size, slab or pier information. Edit the foundations settings after it has been built.

Auto Rebuild Foundations

Automatically update the foundation plan to align with the 1st floor as the design progresses.

Monolithic Slabs

Create monolithic slab foundations with inset ledges for masonry wall construction. Specify curbing for monolithic slab foundations and specify garage specific settings.

Brick Ledge on Stem Walls

Set Brick Ledge depth in the wall specification to automatically generate a notch in the stem wall top.

Wall/Footing Below Attribute

Generate a footing, or foundation wall + footing below, when automatic foundations are created by setting a wall as a Bearing Wall.

Slab Footing Specification

Control footings for slabs on a per edge basis; resize, dimension, or exclude the footing.

Vertical Footing Control

Define stepped foundations with vertical footing control. Choose to show or hide vertical footings for stepped foundations.

Pier/Pad Specification

Select Round Piers or Square Pads and control their size and position in the dialog. Toggle between round and square with a single click.

Create Posts with Footings Independently of Terrain

Rebar calculations for Posts & Beams

Specify the amount of rebar required for foundations so that it is calculated on the Materials List.

Slab Volume Calculations

Listed in the slab specification dialog for easy reference

Wall Footing Offset

Choose to center footings on Wall's main layer or specify an offset value.

Slab Footing Offset Default

Specify default offset distances for footings under slab foundations.


Automatic Framing - floors, walls, ceilings, roofs, openings, headers

Turn on / off automatic framing – move a window and the framing updates. Define Trimmers and Headers based on opening sizes.

Manual Framing Tools

Draw individual framing members or select and edit automatically generated members.

Separate Layers for Framing Types

Framing items are automatically separated onto layers by type (Sill Plates, Posts, Beams, Joists, Blocking, etc.).

Framing Labels

Label controls for posts, beams, and other framing objects. Set up custom labels and assign them to layers.

Auto-Fit Trusses

Floor, ceiling, and roof trusses. Create trusses that automatically conform and fit between platforms; manually edit and customize them. Truss options include scissor, attic, step down, girder, sub-girder, drop hip, jacks, kingpost, gable end, reduced gable, energy heel.

Truss Details

Automatically generated truss details for floor, ceiling, and roof trusses. Each truss is labeled for easy identification.

Truss Labels

Label controls for trusses in specification dialog, name value pairs added for trusses.

Roof Framing Options

Hand Stack or Truss Frame. Define rafters, ridges, lookouts, sub-fascia, blocking, bridging. Valley fill roof trusses. Exposed Rafter Tails and custom rafter tail cuts - choose a molding profile or draw your own profile.

Control Roof Lookout Framing

Turn on or off the automatic generation of lookout framing in the Framing dialog; specify the max spacing for Roof Lookout Framing in the Framing Dialog.

Control of Birdsmouth cuts for Rafters

Turn off auto calculation of birdsmouth and manually specify the birdsmouth seat.

Framing for Custom Ceilings

Framing panel added to ceiling specification dialog allows you to define custom ceilings’ framing independently from roof framing.

Wall Framing Options

Define number of plates, stud thickness, spacing, bridging, miter ends, framing for short walls and knee walls. Balloon Wall Framing platforms extend through walls or walls through platforms. Steel Framing for walls, headers, joists, and rafters - automatically creates C-Channel and U-Channel shaped framing members for typical steel framing. Define the number of Rim Joists generated on a per wall basis.

Multiple Sill Plates

Specify the number and size of sill plates that are added to foundation walls.

Specify Mudsill per Wall

Adjust the thickness of mudsill framing on a wall by wall basis.

Wall Framing Details per Wall

For each wall, view and edit wall framing, add dimensions or callouts. Use to produce framing schedules or wall details.

Rebuild Framing per Wall or Roof Plane

Choose to generate framing for a single object without re-creating the framing for the entire plan.

Wall Framing per Opening

Specify that window and door openings use custom or default settings for Headers, Trimmers, Sills, and other framing related components on the Framing tab of the specification dialog.

Create Built-up Headers

Specify headers with up to 10 members and 5 trimmers for each opening.

Specify Walls as ‘Bearing’

Automatically control the generation of butt or lap framing over a wall with the Bearing attribute.

Wall Framing for Pony Walls and Solid Railings

Plan view display of framing generated for pony walls and solid railings.

Post & Beam framing tools

Specify Round or Square posts. Customize the default attributes of framing posts and beams; show cross box in plan view, width and depth, materials, and other attributes.

Floor Joists Flush with Stem Wall Top

Automatically generate floor framing platforms inside the foundation which hang from stem walls.

Rim Joist Control

Control the material type and size of rim joists independently from the platform framing.

Automatic Platform Holes and Foundation Holes

Use polyline tools to generate holes for the floor or ceiling and automatically generate framing around them.

Deck Framing Options

Define Plank overhang, width, gap, direction, border planks, beams and joists. Define widths, spacing, direction and type of planks. Automatically re-build framing as the design changes. Include or exclude beams, posts, and footings.

Deck Support Controls

Specify size and type of deck posts and height, width, shape of deck footings for individual deck rooms or as project defaults.

Deck Framing Layers

Deck framing, posts, beams, and footings are each added to their own separate layers.

Deck Post and Beam Defaults

Control defaults for fill, size, line style, and other attributes for deck structures.

Treated Deck Framing

Specify Deck Framing Members as “treated” to reflect the lumber type in your materials list.

CAD Tools

CAD Tools

Comprehensive CAD objects and editing tools: Points, Lines, Polylines, Splines, Arcs, Circles, Ovals, Boxes, Arrows, Fence, Trim Extend, Parallel, Perpendicular, Reflect, Replicate, Transform, Fillet, Chamfer, and several others.

CAD Detailing

Use cross-box, blocking box and insulation detail tools to add feature elements to cross-sections and callouts.

3D Primitive, Advanced Polyline & Face Tools

Create custom solids with a variety of shapes. Edit polylines using Polyline Subtract, Polyline Union, and Polyline Intersection. Create solid faces, extrude and revolve them to create custom objects. View and rotate a 3D preview while adjusting the attributes of primitive shape objects.

Polyline Solid Tools

Create 3D shapes using the Polyline Solid tool. Create custom countertop shapes, backsplashes, tub platforms, etc.

Polygon CAD Tool

Creates regularly-shaped polylines of pre-specified dimensions. Specify the number of sides and specify the polygon size by length of sides or overall radius.

Convert 2D CAD to Smart Object

Excludes Elevation and Terrain Objects

Quickly convert CAD to Polyline Solids, Molding Polylines, Countertops, Slabs, Landings, Holes in Roofs and Platforms. Convert Arcs and Circles to Polylines. Convert polylines to Revision Clouds and Material List Areas. Convert to Elevation and Terrain data, Sprinklers, Roads, Road Markings, and Sidewalks.

CAD Detail From View

Generate a CAD Detail from any view. Add or remove lines, add dimensions, fill patterns, text, and callouts. Use CAD details in your Layout and save to the Library for future use.


Import CAD files, such as AutoCAD®, and convert CAD lines to fully configured 3D walls, windows, and doors.

Architectural CAD Details

Includes a subset of CAD Details

Details for residential structural elements. Detailed assemblies for floors, roofs, decks, walls and foundations. Over 500 details are included in the premium SSA catalogs.

Accurately create objects using coordinates

Use the Enter Coordinates dialog and specify absolute or relative coordinates for objects created by clicking and dragging.

Align / Distribute Objects tool

Define distribution and automatic alignment of CAD objects.

Create and manage CAD Details & Blocks

Draw customized details and diagrams, print them to scale, and save for reuse in the Library.

CAD Block Management

Interface in the CAD Block Management dialog displays a preview of the selected block, offers columns for sorting and renaming blocks, the ability to add blocks to the library, and multiple select and insert blocks directly into a design.

Auto Purge CAD Blocks option

Unused CAD Blocks can be automatically purged from plans when the program is closed.

Specify Insertion Points for CAD Blocks

Define an exact location for inserting and placing CAD Blocks.

Custom Line Style Editor

Design your own lines styles and reuse them throughout your projects.

Closed Polylines and Filleted Polylines

Select any polyline and choose Close Polyline to automatically connect the start and end points. Editing of filleted polylines retains fillet radius.

Fillet All and Chamfer All

Quickly edit polyline corners, like custom counters, with fillets or chamfers with the click of a button.

Arc Creation Modes

Choose from a number of methods to precisely draw arcs.

Current CAD Layer & CAD Points saved with plans and layouts

When a plan is closed and re-opened, the CAD Layer used in the previous session is active.

Visual CAD Snaps™

Snap indicators – center, end point, tangent, and several others. Snap to objects or a grid. Snap to Reference Floor layer (a floor above or below the current floor).

Edit CAD using Same Line Type Control

Quickly create new line, spline, or arc segments at the end of existing objects using the Same Line Type handle.

Angle Snap preview while drawing

Multiple Copy tool

Replicate objects at pre-defined increments. Set default increments for different types of framing objects, as well as general objects.

Paste Hold Position tool

Copy an item between layers, plans or floors while maintaining orientation and exact position.

Point-to-Point Move tool

Accurately move or copy objects.


Layer Sets

Set up unique layer groupings for display and printing. Create separate Layer sets for Electrical Plans, Framing Views, or Space Planning. Edit, copy, and rename existing layer sets; use the Layer Set toolbar to quickly swap active Layer Sets or swap Layer Sets using Annotation Sets.

User-Defined Layers

In addition to the default Layers, add, change and delete custom Layers.

Filter Layers in Display Options Dialog

Search for keywords of layers to quickly access relevant information in the Display Options Dialog.

Assign objects to Layers for Display & Materials List

Choose which objects display in 2D and 3D and if they are to be used in Material List. Change the default layer used for individual objects and assign them as necessary.

Layer Eyedropper & Layer Painter tool

Select a layer assigned to an object using the Layer Eyedropper tool, then apply that layer to a different object with Layer Painter.

Layer Hider tool

Click on an object in plan view to turn off its layer display.

Control display attributes by Layer

Set color, weight, and line style on a per layer basis. Lock layers as necessary to prevent editing.

Object Layer Properties edit tool

Quickly and easily modify the layer properties for any object .

Layer Set Defaults dialog & Management dialog

Assign 2D and 3D views to Layer Sets. For example, assign the Cross Section camera to a “Wall Cabinets” only view. Manage Layer Sets - import, export, copy, edit, delete, and create new layer sets from one dialog. Set the currently active set and the reference set.

Assign Cameras to Layers

Layer Set Defaults for Camera Types

Specify unique layer sets for each camera type; Full Camera, Floor Camera, Full Overview, Floor Overview, Cross Section, Back-Clipped Cross Section, and Wall Elevation. Control the layers displayed for any of these cameras when they are initially created by assigning layer sets in the Layer Set Defaults dialog.

Stair and Ramp Up/Down Arrow layer control

New layer for stair and ramp arrow allows you to control the display separately.

New “Footings, Step Markers” layer

Control the step markers display, line style, color, line weight, and text style.

Reference Layer Sets

Reference Layer Sets are retained for each view sent to Layout pages.


Dimensioning tools

Excludes Baseline

Baseline, Centerline, Angular, End-to-End, Interior, Point-to-Point, and Temporary dimensions. Use One-Click Auto Dimensions™ for exteriors.

Running Dimension Tool

Draw dimension with cumulative values from base item to each dimensioned object in a single dimension string.

Display Secondary Dimensions

Show two formats of dimension text on the same dimension string.

Specify Dimension Units, Accuracy, & Display

Use Imperial and Metric systems. Control the units displayed for dimensions, number height and font, arrow size and style, accuracy in decimals or fractions to 1/128" or 0.0078125.

Dimension Label Fill option

Specify solid or transparent fill for dimensions' text.

Append text to dimensions

Insert additional text before or after the dimension value for any dimension string. Choose the dimension number to which text is added.

Define where Dimensions locate

Locate to centers, rough openings, casing, interior layer, main framing layer, sides, and several other locations.

Dimension to Cabinet Toe Kicks, Moldings, Backsplashes and Countertops

Set up locate configuration for dimensions; use the automatic dimension tools in elevation views to automatically include these dimensions.

Input Accurate Dimensions using a DISTO™ or other Laser Distance Meter

Use a Bluetooth or Wireless compatible device to automatically measure a space then input the distances directly into dimension strings.

National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) Automatic Dimensions

Automatically dimension interior rooms and elevations to the National Kitchen and Bath Association dimensioning standards.

Automatic Interior Dimensions

Automatically dimension interior rooms. Set defaults for locating objects.

Automatic Story Pole Dimensions

Use the Story Pole Dimension tool to automatically generate labeled markers for key locations and dimensions between them in Elevation and Cross-Section views.

Automatic Elevation Dimensions

Use the Auto Elevation Dimension tool to add dimensions to Elevation and Cross Section views.

Auto Exterior Dimensions

Add dimensions to the design exterior with a single click. Define the default behavior, like included objects and distance offsets, of Automatic Exterior Dimensions.

Exclude Interior Walls from Auto Exterior Dimension

Set up Auto Exterior Dimension Default to exclude interior walls.

Auto Refresh Exterior Dimensions

Keep Auto Exterior Dimensions up-to-date as you move walls and openings in your design.

Delete Automatic Dimensions

Use the Delete Objects tool to delete Automatic Dimensions from a Floor or the Entire Plan. Manually edited or modified dimensions will remain.

Multiple Dimension Defaults

Define multiple dimension styles and attributes for your specific needs, such as defaults for floor plans, cabinet elevations and site plans. For each Default, define the attributes for number height, unit of measure, arrow, fonts and more.

Precisely Position Objects with Dimensions

Select any object, and enter a corresponding dimension number to move the object a set distance.

Input Math to Edit Dimensions

Use simple arithmetic formulas while editing dimensions to easily move objects in a design.

Wall Editing with Dimensions

Adjust wall lengths by selecting dimensions or temporary dimensions that run parallel to the wall. Display Wall length as you draw; press TAB to input an exact dimension.

Tape Measure Tool

Use the Tape Measure Tool to find the measurements of any item.

Dimension Snapping

Snap to the Center of Cabinets, sides and corners of Appliances and Fixtures, Furniture, Framing, and Callouts and Markers.

Dimension Snapping Controls

Specify how dimensions attach to walls, framing, and openings when dragging new dimension strings; exclude walls, snap to sides or centers of framing, and choose multiple opening options.

Dimension to 3D CAD items Elevation Views

Snap dimensions to countertops, polyline solids, and slabs, regardless of the view in which they were originally drawn.

Define or convert any dimension extension to a Centerline Extension

Open the specification for any dimension and select an extension number to change its values or change it to a centerline.

Box and Bumpout Extension Snaps

Snap to projected 90° intersections.

Lighting / Electrical / HVAC

Electrical & HVAC Tools

Create Electrical, Plumbing and Heating / Ventilation plans. Electrical – place lights, switches, outlets, low voltage, and wiring. Circuit Connection tools draw the connections and circuits for your electrical layout. Connect electrical components together to create circuits. Adjust the lines and arcs of the circuit design. Connections will automatically change switches for 3-way and 4-way. Specify Electrical, Fixture, and Furniture items to attach to ceilings and roofs and auto-rotate to match the pitch of roofs or vaulted ceilings.

Electrical Defaults

Control the initial behavior by specifying default values. Set up default objects to be placed when adding lights and outlets to a room, set the height for outlets and switches off the floor or countertops.

Auto Place Outlets

Places outlets at regular intervals based on room type. Use the Auto Place Outlet tool to add GFCI outlets to your kitchens and bathrooms.

Electrical Lighting & Lighting Sources

Use Light Sources in addition to light fixture symbols to enhance the lighting in a scene. Light Fixtures have light sources for Render and Ray Trace Views.

Custom Lighting Controls

Define custom lighting with shadows, attenuation and intensity; turn lighting on or off per fixture to control whether a light is used for a 3D scene.

Lighting Units

Choose from common wattage/lumens values for lights or specify custom values.

Adjust Lighting Dialog

Locate lights by label name or room location.

Continuous draw mode for Electrical Connections

Quickly generate electrical connections for each circuit in your design.

Photo-realistic lighting effects with the Ray trace rendering

See the Rendering section for additional detail.

Terrain & Landscape

Terrain tools

Generate a 3D terrain model with elevation data you enter or import.

Create Plot Plans, Site plans, & Subdivisions

Input accurate length, bearing and setback information.

Automatic Plan Footprint tool

Use the Plan Footprint tool to automatically generate a CAD Detail for a Site Plan. Turn on only the layers you need visible for the site plan such as roof planes, overhang and exterior walls.

Import Terrain Assistant

Import GPS data: text files, DWG/DXF. Generate Terrain information by importing GPX data from mobile devices.

Terrain Elevation Splines, Polylines, Regions & Points

Input elevations data for Terrain by drawing splines, lines, and points. Attach elevation value to each object, then automatically generate the terrain contours. A Clear Terrain tool is available to remove contouring and adjust elevation data.

Terrain Modifier tools

Hills, Valleys, Elevated Regions, Flat Regions.

Display Line Angle Controls

Display angles as Azimuth Bearings, Quadrant Bearings, Degrees, Minutes, or Minutes + Seconds.

Advanced Terrain dialog

Use the dialog controls for terrain smoothness, triangle generation, terrain's skirt, clipping around structures, and full control over terrain contours.

Retaining Walls, Terrain Break tools

Generate retaining walls with built-in terrain breaks to automatically create steps in the terrain with the wall. Use the Terrain Break tool for steps without the wall structure.

Terrain Accessory tools

Stepping Stones, Streams, Garden Curbing, Pre-defined Garden Beds, Blocked garden beds.

Road & Sidewalk tools

Tools to create a Road, Road Median, Road Striping/Marking, Curb, Gutter, Driveway, Sidewalk and Cul-de-sac. Automatically attach a sidewalk to the road or driveway objects you are generating and specify custom curb profiles.

Spline & Polyline Driveway tools

Road & Driveway Defaults

Preset sizes, types, and materials for these tools to fit your standard development process.

North Pointer & Sun Angles for shadows

Define a North Pointer and Sun Angle. Specify latitude, longitude, date and time; generate shadows in 2D and 3D. Sun Angles are listed by date and time stamps in dialogs for easy identification.

Deck Designer™ tool

Design Straight and Curved Decks. Define roof and ceiling attributes for a covered deck. Control the orientation and size of deck planking, gap, width, overhang, direction, border planks, beams and joists. Full Deck framing – see framing section for more details. Polygon Deck tool, specify the number of sides and the size of a deck.

Fence tool

Create picket, privacy, iron, and panel fences. Choose gate styles from the Library Catalog. Fences follow the terrain.

Sprinkler Designer™ tool

Place sprinkler heads and connect them to create irrigation runs and zones.

Landscaping Plants

Interior Plants Only

Plants Images - Trees, Shrubs, and Flowers can be placed in 2D and 3D views. Over 4,000 plants are included in the premium SSA catalogs.

Create & Import Plants

Import photos of plants and add them to the Library Browser to use in your designs. Add plant growth information and adjust transparency attributes.

3D Plants

700+ 3D Plants in the Premium SSA Catalog

Use 3D Plant Symbols for added detail. Generate realistic 3D views where plants cast shadows.

Plant Chooser™ with Hardiness Zone Maps

Plant Hardiness Zone maps show plant data by region. Use the Plant Chooser to filter results by attributes like common name, water and light needs, and 2D or 3D plant object.

Plant Encyclopedia™

Detailed plant information – common and scientific name, type, sub-type, characteristics, height range, zones, sun and water needs, bloom time, and leaf and flower color.

Create Landscaping Plans

Assign fill colors to plants in Plan view and display plant labels, garden beds, and contours. Place text and CAD details. Create Plant Schedules.

Grow Plants tool

Use sliding scale and grow the plants up to 20 years from the current maturity.

3D Design & Materials

3D & 2D Editing of Architectural Objects.

Place and edit objects directly in 3D and 2D Plan View or Elevation View. Design simultaneously in 2D and 3D for any of the views.

Center Objects tool

Center cabinets under windows, windows in walls, dormers on a roof, and several other items 3D and 2D.

Match Properties / Apply Properties tool

Match properties between items of the same type. Edit similar items, including Electrical and Images.

Object Painter™ / Eyedropper

Use eyedropper functionality to match properties from one object and apply them to another object. Choose which attributes to be applied between objects, and use scoping to apply changes by object, by room, by floor, or to entire plan.

Material Painter™ & Default Painter

Apply colors, materials and textures to objects or components of the object. Apply colors as solid or stain. Use the Default Painter tool restore items to their default material.

Material Eyedropper™ & Color Chooser™

Material Eyedropper: copy a material from one object and apply to another. Color Chooser: capture colors and materials from a photo or website, such as tile for a custom backsplash or a wood stain color for a floor.

Material Properties Settings

Make rendered and ray traced views more photo realistic with Pre-Defined Metals. Specify attributes for these Pre-Defined Metals: Aluminum, Brass, Bronze, Chromium, Copper, Gold, Iron, Nickel, Silver, Stainless Steel, Tin, Titanium, Tungsten, and Zinc.

Material Class Definitions

Use class definitions to define your materials: General, Plastic, Brushed Metal, Shiny Metal, Pre-Defined Metal, Matte, Mirror, Polished, Transparent, and Translucent. Preview the Material classes for standard rendering or ray trace. Ray trace preview includes the option to choose a sphere, cube, or teapot shape to help visualize the attributes of materials.

Flexible Previews in Define Material Dialog

Easily set up material properties and see live updates of the effects of settings in the Ray Trace dialog preview. Choose ray trace quality settings within dialog to preview materials as you would see it in your scene.

Screen Capture tool - create custom materials

Screen capture an image and apply in the design, such as a photo of tile for a custom backsplash.

Toggle Patterns on or off in Vector View™

Assign Custom Patterns to Materials or Object Fill

Control the scale and rotation angle, transparency, and color of Patterns.

Manage Plan Materials

Manage all the materials used in the design. Replace materials used in a plan with a material from the Library Catalog. Select a group of materials to merge.

Apply Plan Materials using Material Painter

When using Material Painter, choose from a list of materials from the Library Browser or Plan Materials to quickly select new materials or reuse those that are used in your design.

Import Custom Symbols

Create custom 3D objects or import from manufacturers.

Rotate Previews in Symbol Specification Dialog

While editing or importing symbol objects, drag and rotate the 3D preview to see all angles of the item.

Origin Indicator for Symbol Specification

Turn on the visual UCS indicator while importing or editing a symbol to easily see and manipulate the object in relation to the origin location and its X, Y, and Z orientation.

Create Custom Moldings

Draw your own molding profile. The software will extrude the molding in 3D. Choose to retain the scale of symbol based items and moldings when modifying one dimension.

Library / Catalog

Catalog Library Browser

Access thousands of Objects / Items, both Manufacturer and generic. Download, import and create new objects. Search for objects in the Library or use the advanced search features to filter the results. Number of Library Items is displayed in the status bar.

Library Search & Instant Search bar integrated into the Library

Search for Library items by keyword, object type or style. Instant Search bar is integrated into the Library, just start typing in the search bar to find objects in the Library. Customize Library Search Attributes, view or modify key words for searching on Library objects.

Library Browser Filtered Views

Choose to show or hide entire library catalogs in the Library Browser tree. Improved library load times as hidden items are not loaded into the Library Browser.

Library Search Improvements

Enhanced search algorithm more reliably finds results by prioritizing results through better word matching and includes folders in search results; use quotes to search for specific phrases or words.

Catalog Migration

Core, Bonus, Manufacturer and User Catalogs from previous installs automatically migrate and update to latest version at install time; User Catalog automatically migrates from previous installs. Use the catalog migration dialog to specify which catalogs to bring forward.

Export Entire User Library

Easily backup and transfer User Library at the top level of the User Library Tree.

Automatic Catalog Updates

Check for updates for catalogs distributed by Chief Architect and automatically update to the latest version. Options to Continue or Cancel downloads when Chief Architect closes. Catalog Downloads automatically restart if Chief Architect is closed then re-launched . Notification dialog lists which catalogs have been updated after the updated catalog process is complete.

Library Object Shortcuts

Create shortcut items to any object in the Library Browser to customize your organization.

Multiple Select Library Items

Use the Shift or Ctrl keys to copy, move, and edit groups of objects.

Preview Objects / Items in the Library before they are placed in a design

Visual feedback for the size and orientation of objects being placed from the library and edited in plan and 3D views. Rotate, Spin and Zoom the Library preview.

Replace From Library tool

Select objects in the plan and replace with an object in the Library. Replace single items or all identical items in a plan.

Library Painter

Update library items associated with an object by 'painting' them onto the item; visual feedback through the cursor and when hovering over objects. Update doors, cabinet doors, railing panels, newels, balusters, handrails, casings, shutters, and window treatments in 2D and 3D.

Convert Plan Materials to Library Materials

Materials that are in use in the plan can automatically be added to the Library.

Import New 3D Objects from Library Browser

Use the Right-Click contextual menu in the Library Browser to import new 3D Objects directly into their Library folder.

Edit Backdrops from the Library Browser

Open Backdrop properties in the Library Browser to re-assign referenced images and adjust spherical settings. Use the ‘New Backdrop’ menu item to create a new backdrop directly from the Library.

Edit Symbol Objects from the Library Browser

In addition to adjusting the Symbol Properties for objects, edit the specifications like Layer and Label and save with the object in the Library Browser

Create 3D Objects that Cut Terrain Holes

Library Objects can be defined to cut holes in terrain, like window wells and swimming pools.

Materials List & Cost Estimating

Automatically generate Materials Lists

Automatic Materials List with columns for equipment, unit costs, percent markup, and labor costs. Change order of the columns. Generate a list for the entire plan, single room, or defined area using a polyline.

Master Materials List

The Master Materials List stores master data, such as price. Choose which data is stored in a Master List, and when to load saved Master List information into your project's Materials List. Save and load multiple Master Materials Lists.

Specify Layers when calculating a Materials List

Use Layers to control what is included in the Materials List.

Comments and Notes per Object

Replacing the former "Components" construct, use the Object Information panel to easily add and manipulate Code, Comment, Description, and Manufacturer fields through items' specification dialog. Data appears in both Materials Lists and Schedules.

BuilderTREND Support

Export Materials List with accounting codes, descriptions, quantities, and pricing. Accounting codes conform to the NAHB Standards.

Material Schedules

Create Schedules for Doors, Windows, Cabinets, Fixtures, Appliances, Furniture, Electrical HVAC, Plumbing, Plants and Room Finish. Exclude specific items from Schedules such as cabinet hardware. Automatically Customize the information contained in the Schedule and label controls for Schedules.

Control the Order of Objects and Columns in Schedules

Manually drag and re-order items in a schedule to move it up or down in the list. Reorder, rename, hide, and duplicate columns in schedules as desired.

Schedule Size Formatting

Visual feedback while editing column width on schedules. Set schedule attribute to display text in all caps, or leave unchecked to show text as displayed in dialogs.

Multi-Line Text in Schedules

Resize schedule column widths to wrap text to multiple lines in narrow columns .

Schedule Thumbnails

Display a preview thumbnail of objects as a column in schedules; change the view type to control the style of the display.

Display Identical Objects in Groups or Individually in Schedules

‘Group Similar Objects’ option allows schedules to be organized so that each object is itemized with its own callout, or grouped and counted together with like items.

Multiple Callouts for items Duplicated between Schedules

See additional callouts referencing each schedule in which an object is included.

Callout Label Shapes

Designate rectangular, diamond, capsule, and other shapes for schedules’ automatic callout labels.

Room Name Column in Schedules

Display Room Name column in door, window, cabinet, fixture, furniture, and electrical schedules.

Room Specific Door/Window/Cabinet Schedules

Select a room and use the Room Object Schedule tool to isolate objects associated with the room.

Reference Height for Electrical Schedules

Display the reference height column to indicate installation height on walls, or distance off floor and ceiling.

Window and Door Schedules

Display columns for Divided Lites, Finish Type, Shutters, and Trim to provide full information about each window and door. Use options to show or hide Casing, Lintel and Sills, and Treatments and Shutters in the schedule thumbnail images.

Cabinet Schedule Improvements

New column options for cabinet schedules, including Box Height, Side Finish, and Door Hinging.

Framing Schedules

Create a schedule with labels and callouts for framing members; quickly reference sizes and materials for different framing members. Create schedules that reference Deck Framing only.

Cut & Buy Lists

The Structural Lumber Table can be used to calculate lumber materials for a Cut List and a Buy List. This calculation is in addition to square feet and lineal feet calculations and can be especially helpful for your framing and decking board calculations.

Real-time Cut List / Buy List

Use dropdown option in the Materials List to swap between reporting styles being displayed

Text / Annotation / Scripting

Annotation Sets

Annotation Sets control a subset of defaults including Dimensions, Text, Arrows, Markers, Callouts, and Layers. Annotation Sets can be used to quickly change your defaults and streamline the annotation process.

Annotation Sets Saved with View

Annotation Sets are retained from view to view so that they automatically swap as you swap between views.

Fully editable Text tools

Control font, size, weight, color, position, justification, and more.

Advanced Rich Text tools

Format text with varying colors, font, and more. Convert plain text to rich text.

Copy Text from Word Processing Apps

Create text and tables using word processing applications then copy/paste into Chief as Rich Text.

Text Styles

Create unlimited Text Styles and assign them per layer, per default, or per object to control the appearance of labels, dimensions and other text in your design.

Convert Text to All Caps

Define custom Text Styles using Uppercase as an attribute and apply it to annotation elements to display text as capitalized.

Text Leader Line tool quickly creates callouts and notes

Create Leader Lines using Rich Text or Plain Text types.

Architectural fonts: City Blueprint, Country Blueprint, Chief Blueprint

Use any built-in font included with your operating system.

Spell Checker

Uses a built-in or custom dictionary. Syntax highlighting and a context menu allow for quick corrections while editing text.

Text Controls

Font control, font defaults, and text macros for page number, date, and others.

Customizable Text Arrows

Callouts & Markers

Place Callouts and Markers in Plan, Elevation, Layout, and Detail views. Adjust fill color, line style, line weight, and double-headed Callouts. Callouts and Markers have unique layers. Use multiple default styles for Arrows, Markers, and Callouts.

Multi-Line Labels

Include line returns in customized labels to create wrapping effects and multi-line label text

Custom Door, Window, & Cabinet Labels

Type your own customized labels for any Door, Window, or Cabinet object. Control cabinet label size and orientation.

Rotate Labels

Select and rotate labels independently in Plan view. Set default label rotation and offset; set label rotation to be relative or absolute to the rotation of the object.

Labels for Polylines

Specify custom labels for polyline-based objects and reference them through plan display and macros

Automatic Roof Labels

Display labels for roofs, skylights and holes. Label includes pitch direction arrow and the roof angle in pitch or degrees. Modify the arrow style and text style of the roof labels.

Labels for Layout Boxes

Automatic labels for layout views will display the camera name for elevation and section views or the floor plan name for plan views. Create custom labels that will move with the views as you set up your layout .

Specify labels for Light Source or “added light” objects

Uniquely name light sources in your scenes for easy recognition.

Soffit, Shelf, and Partition Labels

Assign custom labels through the new Label Tab for soffits, shelves, and partitions.

Labels for Bay, Box, and Bow Windows

Customize labels through the Label Tab of the Bay, Box, and Bow Window dialogs.

Room Label background fill

Specify background fill color or solid or transparent fill for room labels.

Control the location of Labels

X and Y offsets for labels allow you to control the orientation of labels in relationship to the object.

Embed Hyperlinks in Text

Add links to website or other files using the text tools.

Revision Clouds

Encircle objects with revision clouds, or draw your own. See a preview of the Revision Cloud you are creating or editing from within its specification dialog.

Text Macros & User Defined Text Macros

Excludes User Defined Text Macros

Insert macros into text objects. Add Contact Info, File Info, Plan Info, Special Characters, and Time and Date macros. Create custom Macros, such as macros for Contractor, Supplier, or Revision Number.

Window Macros

Use macros to include Window Type, Top Elevation, Bottom Elevation, and Floor to Header height in window labels.

Label Macros

Label macros for Electrical Lights, Stairs & Ramps, Roof Pitch / Slope, and Layout Boxes

Create Dynamic Label Macros

Use Text Macros in combination with the Ruby Scripting tools to dynamically update object labels or other annotation in your design.

Text Macro Management dialog

Create New, Edit, Copy, Delete, and Test custom macros from within the Text Macro Management dialog.

Ruby Scripting

Use the Ruby Scripting Console for writing program scripts - such as determining room volume, custom cabinet labels and several others. Includes an Interactive tutorial on how to create user-defined macros.


Printed Paper sizes

Specify printed paper sizes to fit your design scale or set your design to scale to paper size.

Save Prints in PDF Format

Save to a PDF file for outsourcing a print job – great when you do not have a large format printer.

Print Preview

Displays printable area, paper edges, and line weights.

Drawing Sheet Setup

Determine plan sheet size and specify how it prints to different paper size.

Span printing across multiple pages

Print a large format sheet on a smaller paper size and tape together to make the larger sheet.

Specify Page Printing Range and Collation

Choose to print all, selected page ranges, or specific pages from your Layout.

Control line style begin and end size

For example, for a dashed line define the start and end dash size.

Import / Export

Import & Export Chief Objects

Excludes Wall Types, Ruby Scripts, and Line Styles

Import/Export Annotation Sets, Layer Sets, Hot Keys, Wall Types, Line Styles, Defaults, Macros, and Ruby Scripts. Share with other users or transfer them from plan to plan.

Export Materials List to Microsoft Excel, CSV, TXT, or HTML

Import PDF files

Import Adobe® PDF file formats into plans, layouts, and CAD Details; retain print resolution and quality when printing final documents with embedded PDF files.

Import & Export 2D DXF

Advanced Layer Mapping to assist with importing.

AutoCAD® Compatibility

Import or Export DXF and DWG files.

Import & Export 3D files

Import 3D DXF, DWG, OBJ, 3DS, SKP. Export 3D DXF, DWG, 3DS.

Collada Import and Export

Import and export 3D Collada format files (.DAE) and referenced texture files.

STL Import and Export

Import Only

Import and export 3D objects in .STL format.

SketchUp 8 object import

Import SketchUp format files in both Mac and Windows 32 bit and 64 bit and Mac operating systems.

Import image files: BMP, JPG, GIF, PCS, TIFF, PCX, PNG, Metafiles, TGA

Image import - specify transparency color and add plant data or image information for materials and backdrops. Display Metafile on plan, elevation, and layout views. Specify fill style to show through and transparency on the image.

HD Picture Export

Create and export high-quality, larger than screen resolution renders (watercolor, technical illustration, and final view with shadows).

Export Images with Transparent Background

Export .PNG and .TIF images that treat the backdrop as transparent, making it easy to overlay the graphics on other artwork without the need for additional photo manipulation.

Import Terrain Elevation data

Import survey data from AutoCAD or other sources.

3D Mass Import

Group import 3D DWG, DXF, 3DS, OBJ, SKP files and convert them to Library Objects.

Create Materials from Textures

Group import texture image files and convert them to materials automatically.

Convert 3D View to Symbol

Create a custom object using Chief Architect's design tools and then round-trip covert a view to a unified library item.

User Resources

Mac & PC compatible

Chief Architect can be installed and run natively either on Mac or Windows operating systems with a single license.

64-bit version

The 64-bit version is more efficient in managing memory and you will see better performance on larger plan files. A 32-bit version is available and will also run on 64-bit operating systems.

Support for Multiple Monitors

Tabbed view windows can be torn or undocked from main user interface and moved between monitors independently.

Touch Screen Optimization

Smooth and accurate touch controls for pinch zoom, pan, rotate and other controls for Windows computers (not supported by Mac OS).

Use Gestures to Navigate

For Mac Trackpad users, gestures such as Panning and Zooming, can be used to navigate in a view.

HD Interface Graphics and Icons

Toolbar buttons and new high definition icons scale to fit screen resolutions and increased DPI (128px vs 20px)

Control UI Button Size

Use Preference settings to change the size of toolbar buttons. Make the display of the toolbars bigger without adjusting system settings.

Customizable Toolbars

Modify the toolbar to match your work style. Add and remove buttons, create toolbar groupings, dock and undock toolbars. Create Toolbar Sets. Use the search bar to quickly locate buttons.

Toolbar Sets

Excludes Terrain, Space Planning, and MEP toolbars

A collection of tools on a toolbar set organized by discipline: Default, Terrain, Kitchen & Bath, Space Planning, and Mechanical Electrical Plumbing.

Tool Palettes

Easily access all of the child tools for the selected parent tool through the static Toolbar Palette.

Customizable Hotkeys

Assign and change shortcut key mapping. Set up Sequential Hotkeys. Assign combinations of keystrokes, up to 4, to be used sequentially as shortcuts to tools.

Specify Preferences & Defaults

Set up Preferences for display and editing tools to customize the interface to your needs. Specify defaults for most architectural elements so that their initial placement suits your project's design and style.

Directory Navigation through Preferences

Easily view and access the location of files stored and referenced through Chief Architect in the Preferences dialog.

Migration Tools

Easily bring forward settings from previous Chief Architect versions.

Faster Undo / Redo

The architecture for UNDO and REDO is improved; notice faster, more responsive, and more UNDOs (up to 100) without affecting performance.

Dockable Layer Display Options

Configure Active Layer Display Options Dialog to be docked and accessible while designing to quickly and easily control your layers.

Dialogs Remember Last Position

Location and size of dialogs can be retained for the next time they are accessed.

Rendered Previews in Dialogs

View, rotate, and spin previews of 3D objects in specification dialogs to get a better sense of their attributes while making modifications.

3D Mouse Support

Use a 3Dconnexion Mouse as your input device to efficiently navigate camera views.

Missing Graphic File Handling

Interface to aid in updating, replacing, deleting, and ignoring missing graphics files.

Virtual Graph Paper™ display

Adjust grid to display a reference in any increment, great for modular design, space planning, and as an indication of scale.


Set Auto-Archive Preference to schedule how frequently projects are backed up to an archive file.

Create Archival .ZIP Files

Export an archive of a project that combines all files into a single .ZIP for easy storage. Use the Backup Plan feature to overwrite files into an existing folder instead of requiring an empty directory.

Unicode Special Character Support

User accounts and files using accented Western letters can be leveraged for most interactions in the software.

REScheck™ Support

Export energy calculations to U.S. Department of Energy’s REScheck™ software.

Chief Viewer™ - a Free downloadable viewer

View and annotate 3D camera views and Virtual Tours.

Support & Software Assurance

Updates, Major Releases and New Versions, Priority Technical Support, Over 500 Online Training Video access, Download Library Catalogs access, Discounted Training Seminars, Discounts on Secondary Licenses.

Activate/Deactivate Options

Deactivate a license remotely from your Chief Architect online account.

30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee

If you are not completely satisfied, Chief Architect, Inc. will gladly refund your purchase price within 30 days of purchase.