Changing the Unit of Measurement for New Files

Reference Number: KB-00024
Last Modified: July 14, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


When I start a new drawing, my walls and other objects are measured in metric units. How to I change back to imperial units?


While it's possible to display imperial, metric, or both units of measurement for dimensions in a plan, it's important to remember that for accuracy purposes, it's best to use the unit of measurement that was assigned to the plan when it was created.

Make sure that when you create a template plan or layout file, you use the correct unit of measurement and that you never specify that file as your template for the other unit type.

To specify units of measurement

  1. Launch Chief Architect and select Edit> Preferences Preferences if you're on a Windows computer or Chief Architect> Preferences Preferences if you're on a Mac.

  2. On the New Plans panel of the Preferences dialog, click the radio button beside either U.S. (Imperial) Units or Metric Units for new plans.

    New Plans panel located in Preferences

    Note: The out of box configuration for the default plan template for U.S. (Imperial) Units is Residential Template.plan for residential design and Kitchen and Bath Template.plan for interior design.Metric templates that install with Chief Architect will include a capital "M" in the name as well - for example, Residential TemplateM.plan and Kitchen and Bath TemplateM.plan.

    If you have the radio button set to U.S. (Imperial) Units, but the template is a style that includes an "M" in the name, use the Browse button to navigate to an imperial template (one that does not have an "M" in the file name) in the software's Data folder and click Open.

  3. Click OK to close the dialog to apply your change.

  4. The plan that is currently open will not be affected by the change, however, when you select File> New Plan New Plan to open a new plan, it will use the specified units of measurement.

To specify template plans

If you have specified U.S. (Imperial) Units for your new plans on the New Plans panel of the Preferences dialog but new, blank plans are using metric units, it's likely that your specified imperial template plan is actually a metric plan.

The steps below describe how to resolve this issue for a plan template, however, the same idea applies to layout templates.

  1. Select Edit> Preferences Preferences if you're on a Windows computer or Chief Architect> Preferences Preferences if you're on a Mac.

  2. On the New Plans panel:

    • Click the radio button beside the type of units that you wish to use in new plans.

    • Click Browse next to the name of the template file that is using the wrong unit of measurement.

    • Select a template file that uses the correct unit of measurement, then click OK.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and apply the change. 

  3. Select File> New Plan New Plan from the menu to open a new, blank plan.

  4. You can now set up your preferred default settings and save this file as a custom template with the correct units of measurement.

    Note: You can create custom plan and layout templates, then direct the program to refer to the template(s) when creating a new plan or layout. For more information on creating template files, please see the Related Articles section below.