Modifying the Scale of an Imported DWG/DXF

Reference Number: KB-00199
Last Modified: December 15, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I have a .dwg drawing that was drawn at a scale of 1" = 20', and when imported into Chief Architect it is the wrong size.  How can I change the scale so it displays at the correct size?


In Chief Architect, all architectural and CAD drawings in plan files are drawn at a one to one scale.  A 24" x 24" cabinet really is 24" square, and a CAD line 8" long really is that length - regardless of how far you zoom in or out.  To produce a scaled working drawing, the desired scale is specified when a view is sent to layout or printed.

Since drawings are not scaled in the Chief Architect drawing window, it is not possible to assign a scale to an imported drawing.  If you have a .dxf or .dwg drawing that was not drawn at 1:1, it needs to be imported using a custom unit of measurement that takes the drawing's scale into account and converts it to a 1:1 drawing.  

To create a custom unit of measurement

  1. Open the Chief Architect plan in which you would like to import a .dxf or .dwg drawing and select Edit> Preferences  from the menu if you're on a Windows PC or Chief Architect> Preferences  if you're on a Mac.  

  2. On the Unit Conversions panel of the Preferences dialog:  

    • Click the Add button.  

  3. In the Add Unit Conversion dialog that appears next:  

    • Type a short, descriptive name for your custom unit in the Unit Name field.  

    • Select a Measurement Type of length.  

    • In the Multiply by field, type the scaling factor that the drawing is using.    

    • In the to Convert to drop down list, change the unit of measurement to ft.  

      There are several ways to do a unit conversion.  For example, a scale of 1" = 20' can be rescaled by multiplying by 20 and converting to feet.  Or, it can be multiplied by 240 (12" x 20) and converted to inches.

    • Click OK to close the dialog and add your custom unit to the Unit Conversions list.  

  4. Click OK to close the Preferences dialog.  

To import a .dxf or .dwg file using a custom unit of measurement

  1. Select CAD> CAD Detail Management  from the menu and open a new CAD Detail window to import your drawing into. 

  2. Select File> Import> Drawing  from the menu.  

  3. Follow the steps in the Import Drawing Wizard until you get to the Drawing Unit page.  

    • Click the Unit of Measurement drop down arrow and select the unit created in the previous steps from the list.  

  4. Click the Next button and finish importing your drawing.  When it is imported into Chief Architect, it will be drawn at a 1:1 scale.