Chief Architect Premier


Chief Architect Interiors

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3D Rendering & Visualization

Perspective and Orthographic 3D Camera tools

Create 3D presentation views and 2D technical views using camera tools for real-time representations of your designs. Use layers to turn off or on different elements, like framing. Camera views can be named, edited, saved, and copied. Use 3D Settings Controls to adjust the display options and settings.

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.

Walkthrough Tools

Create detailed walkthrough recordings along paths that you can save and share in standard video formats. 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.

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

Custom Backdrops

Import images from building site, or use a generic scene, to add realistic backgrounds to your renderings. Set up saved cameras to leverage different backdrops to show different scenes for different cameras in the same project.

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

Multiple Camera Defaults

Specify default values for each camera type; control plan display, layer assignment, active Rendering Technique, and more.

Group Select and Edit Cameras

Select multiple cameras at one time and edit their properties, like height off floor or the Rendering Technique used.

Photo Realistic Ray Trace Rendering

Ray Trace rendering uses multiple core processors with lighting and materials that can be set for photo realistic rendering. 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. 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. Specify image resolution, processing duration, and final adjustments to scene in the controls.

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.

Generated Sky Model

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

Artistic Rendering Techniques

3D Standard, Physically Based, 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 different Render Technique styles. For example, set the squiggle amount for Line Drawing or the colors for Technical Illustration.

Physically Based Rendering Technique

Enhanced render view option calculates lighting more accurately, mimicking properties of physical surfaces; see reflections and light effects based on your scene’s contents. Fine tune the look of your Physically Based Rendering Technique using Hue, Saturation, Brightness, and Camera Exposure Sliders.

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 orthographic cameras to create elevation or cross section views. 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.

CAD Details Catalog & Auto-Detailing tool

Choose from over 500 CAD Details in the premium SSA catalog to overlay on your design. Use the Auto-Detail tool to add CAD details to cross-section and elevation views.

Opening Indicators

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 Plan Sets

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 linked to the original model reflecting any updates you make. Reorder the Layout pages dynamically. Create templates for Layouts with borders and title blocks.

Set up multiple Pages per Layout File

1000 Pages

200 Pages

Create multi-sheet documents within a single layout file to organize entire professional designs.

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.

Reshape Views Sent to Layout

Like other Polyline based items, add breaks and curved edges to Layout viewports to control cropping of their display on a layout page.

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.

Layout Page Table

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

Control Layout Template Pages

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

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.

Saved Plan Views

Create and save multiple plan views (similar to saved cameras). Each view retains Layer Set, Annotation Set and Active Defaults. Open multiple Plan Views in Windows or Tabs, and manage saved views in the Project Browser. Edit the settings in your Plan Views from the Project Browser through a specification dialog; choose to save or ignore Zoom Size and Floor Level with saved plans.

Project Browser

Excludes CAD Details

Manage and navigate Layout pages, project files, floors, elevations, cross sections, 3D views, cameras, and CAD details. Rename cameras, view multiple projects at once and easily access their details.

Multi Select Views in Project Browser

Select multiple views from the Project Browser tree to delete, edit or activate them.

Close Views from Project Browser

Manage open windows through the context menus and easily close any group of views.

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.

Design Structures with multiple Floors

30 Floors

10 Floors

Excludes attic and basement or foundation.

Insert & Exchange Floors

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

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

Start projects from 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 and 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.

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.

Model Maker™

Print designs that can be assembled into 3D Models.

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

Control initial behavior by specifying default values like ceiling height, style, moldings, wall covering, floor materials. 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.

Living Area Calculation

Specify which rooms should 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 in different geometric shapes.

Room Divide Tool

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


Wall Tools

Draw and edit walls in 2D and 3D. 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, ICF, SIPS, glass block, railings.

Custom Wall Types

Use controls in the Wall Type Definition dialog to easily edit wall assemblies, 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.

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.

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, panels, 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.

Control the Thickness of Railing Panels

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

Turn off Posts for Railings

Easily specify whether railings or fences include posts with the “No Posts” control.

Railing Over Solid Wall

Generate Pony Walls with a railing as the upper wall type.

Pony Walls

Create walls with different upper and lower types. Control window and door display, dimensions, framing, alignment between floors. Adjust the height of individual Pony Wall pieces. Display Pony Wall Edge Line in Plan View

Pony Wall Ledge Cap

Specify a cap for pony walls where a change in wall thickness occurs; select a profile from the library browser, specify size, and define an offset.

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.

Remodeling Plans

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

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

Manually or Automatically place Corner Boards and Quoins at wall intersection corners. Set default size and material attributes.


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 more. Use a specification dialog to define and customize your cabinets.

Cabinet Brand Catalogs

Cabinet catalogs include door and drawer styles, colors, wood species, and accessories that can be attached to parametric cabinet tools.

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.

Show Cabinet Doors Open

Use layers and controls in the cabinet dialog to draw doors and drawers open in 2D and 3D views. Set percent open for cabinet doors and drawer individually. Use edit toggle to quickly return all cabinets to closed or open in a view.

Hide Cabinet Doors

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

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.

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.

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.

Insert Items inside Cabinets

Attach custom shelves, storage, and hardware items into cabinet boxes and specify their behavior per face item.

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.

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.

Rounded Cabinet and Countertop Corners

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

Custom Backsplash Tool

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

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. Define End Panels or Finishes 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.

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.

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.

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, louvered, bay, and box.

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

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.

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.

Control Plan Display of Symbol Windows

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

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.

Automatic Dutch Gable Roofs

Easily create a Dutch Gable style roof using the Automatic Build Roof tools; simply set wall properties as “Dutch Gable”, adjust the values and build roof.

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.

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.

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. Create L and U-shaped stairs with a single click.

Advanced Stair tools

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Railings Follow Stairs

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

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 can be framed and updated automatically as the structure evolves. 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 Members

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

Multiple Framing Types

Choose from a wide selection of framing types when designing your structure; from lumber, to steel, to engineered materials like LVL, PSL, and VSL. Framing labels reflect the type of material specified.

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.

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.

Framing for Custom Ceilings

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.

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 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.

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.

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 and Distributed Objects

Quickly convert CAD to Polyline Solids, Molding Polylines, Countertops, Slabs, Landings, Distributed Regions and Paths, 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, Garden Beds, 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.

Draw with 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.

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.

Fillet All and Chamfer All

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

Stretch CAD Tool

Similar to Edit Area; create a marquee that contains or excludes CAD end points and move selection to stretch and scale the components within the selection area.

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).

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.

Layer Management

Create, edit, and delete layers. Adjust line weight, color, style and display. Search for layers and assign objects to layers as desired. Specify which layers report to Materials List.

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 from the Edit Toolbar.

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.

Reference Layer Sets

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


Dimensioning tools

Excludes Baseline

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

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.

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.

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. A new story pole label is generated for each dimension mark added.

Auto Story Pole Reach Parameters

Control the number of points located with the Auto Story Pole by setting “Reach” values that find items at a maximum distance away.

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.

Auto Refresh Exterior Dimensions

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

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

Wall Editing with Dimensions

Excludes TAB input

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.

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.

Toolbar Drop-down for Dimension Defaults

Easily switch between dimension defaults from a new toolbar dropdown.

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 and intensity; turn lighting on or off per fixture to control whether a light is used for a 3D scene.

Specify Number of Lights Used per Scene

Choose to display more than 8 light sources in your 3D views. Set the maximum number of lights used in the Camera Defaults and Camera Specification dialogs.

Lighting Management

Easily manage lights in a plan through the Adjust Lights dialog. Sort the display by column, turn lights ON or OFF, change their color, group select, open specification dialog, and more controls make it quick and easy to control your scenes’ lighting.

Light Source Indicator

Display location of light sources in Vector, Glass House, Standard and other rendering techniques to easily verify that they are positioned properly in scenes and in relation to light fixtures.

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 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.

Material Properties for More Realistic Scenes

Attach Ambient Occlusion Maps, Roughness Maps and Metal Maps, along with Normal and Bump Maps, to add realism to your material properties. Control Emissive materials with more physical accuracy or set a material as Metallic with refined material property controls.

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

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

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.

Edit Multiple Materials

Select and open the specification dialog to edit multiple materials at once from the Library Browser. Update the shared render properties of your custom materials all at once!

Import Custom Symbols

Import custom 3D objects from popular brand catalogs or other sharing sites and store them in the Library Browser for use in your designs.

Convert 3D to Symbol Objects

Design with 3D CAD, Moldings, or other objects and covert those elements into a custom Symbol that can be stored in the Library and be re-used as a stand-alone object.

Smart Symbol Creation

Import and create smart objects with behaviors specific to the software's feature. Sinks that insert into cabinets, decorations that hang on walls, light fixtures with brightness properties.

Symbols Insert into Wall

Symbol objects can be specified to insert into walls and to cut a wall hole partly or completely through the wall. Customize the shape of the wall hole in 3D with the Edit Wall Cutout Polyline edit tool.

Rotate Symbols in 3D

In 3D views easily rotate symbol objects in the X, Y, or Z planes using rotate edit handles for the selected side. Choose to automatically refresh CAD Block for symbol objects as they are rotated or modified.

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.

Distributed Region and Path

Automatically generate groupings of an object in an area or along a path (garden beds or cable lighting, for example). Set variances like size, position and angle for a more naturalized look.

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.

Folder Search in Library Browser

Search for items in specific folder using context menus along with the search tools.

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.

3D Material Preview

ž 3D Material Preview. See material previews with normal maps, bump maps, and other properties in the Library Browser applied to a 3D shape (cube, sphere, plane, or teapot).

Catalog Migration

Library Filters and 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.

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.

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.

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.

Find in Plan from the Materials List

Select items from the materials list and choose to Show in Plan to identify and locate them in your design.

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.

Ruby Macros in Materials List

Leverage Ruby Scripting to create custom formulas for calculations in the materials list.

Name Value Pairs

Leverage reference codes for elements in the program to write custom text macros and Ruby scripts.

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.

Custom Columns for Schedules

Use the Object Information Panel in an item’s specification dialog to assign custom fields which can be displayed in 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.

Find in Plan from a Schedule

Select a row of items from your schedules and choose to Show in Plan to locate them in your design.

Open Object Specification from Schedule

Select a row from a schedule and choose to open the specification for the item(s) represented in the row, edit and update them in your project and your schedules.

Schedule Thumbnails

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

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 Specific Door/Window/Cabinet Schedules

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Object Labels

Type your own customized labels objects; include macros to make them dynamically update with the item. Control cabinet label size and orientation.

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 .

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

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.

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 print jobs.

Custom Watermarks

Create watermarks and display them on your work. Control location, size, angle, transparency, and include images in your watermark design.

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.

Import / Export

Import and 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.

Import image files: BMP, JPG, GIF, TIFF, PNG, Metafiles

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.

Virtual Reality

Leverage HTC VIVE™ and Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headsets to view your Chief Architect Designs.

Support for Multiple Monitors

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

Tabbed View Icons

Graphic icons for different view types make it easy quickly identify open tabbed windows.

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 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.

Active Icon in Drop-down Tools

See a visual indicator that differentiates the Annotation Sets, Layer Sets, Saved Plan Views, and Dimension Defaults drop-down tool 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.

Migration Tools

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.

Room Planner™ Support

Import designs created using Chief Architect's Room Planner mobile app.

Chief Architect 3D Viewer

Save 3D designs to the Chief Cloud for sharing and viewing in Chief Architect's 3D Viewer application. Multiple cameras can be included and viewed from a single 3D Viewer project, allowing real-time navigation of your designs on the web or mobile devices.

Chief Viewer™

View and annotate 3D camera views and Virtual Tours. Free Download

Home Designer® Compatibility

Open and edit plans created using Chief Architect's Home Designer software products. Full editing allows you to take a DIY design to the professional level.

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 in order to access the program from another computer.

30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee

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