Opening 3D Home Architect® Deluxe Plans

Reference Number: KB-00279
Last Modified: December 9, 2016

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors


I have a number of older plans I created using 3D Home Architect® Deluxe. Will Chief Architect or Home Designer software open these older plans?


I receive a warning message of:

"This version of Chief Architect can only read plans written by Chief Architect 97 or later, Home Designer 6.0 or later, or 3D Home Architect 3.0 or 4.0"

How can I resolve this warning?


The current version of Chief Architect will support opening drawings only from Chief Architect '97 (version 5.0) or newer.

Plans created in Chief Architect version 4.0 and earlier cannot be opened directly in the current version of Chief Architect.

The current version of Home Designer will support opening drawings from 3D Home Architect® Deluxe versions 3.0 and 4.0 only.

To open 3D Home Architect files

  1. Launch your Chief Architect or Home Designer software program.

  2. From the menu, select File> Open Plan , navigate to the file's location on your computer, click on the file to select it and it displays as highlighted and its name displays in the File Name field. Click Open to open the file.

    Note: These older plans had individual files for each floor or layout page.

    For example: *.pl1 was Floor 1, *.pl2 was Floor 2, etc.

    All of these files must be named the same, and at the same location, in order for them to open correctly in the newer version program. Once the file is saved in the current version then it will be a single .plan or .layout with all of the floors/pages located in the same file.

  3. Once the file is opened in the newer version of the program, select File> Save .

Please bear in mind that after an older version file has been opened in the newer program, the plan will not appear exactly as it did when it was initially created. 

For example, textures and 3D symbol objects from the discontinued version will not be recognized. There will be missing electrical and other object defaults, and warning messages will display on opening the file, as well as taking 3D camera views, regarding these objects.

While you could try to replace all of the missing textures, objects, and defaults using materials and symbols from your current Home Designer Library Browser, the real advantage of
being able to view the older file is to reference dimensions and object placement.

In order to have all of the capabilities available in a current version plan, such as Wall Types and other features, recreating the plan in the current version of Chief Architect will be necessary.

Plans created in versions prior to Chief Architect '97 (version 5) or 3D Home Architect Deluxe 3.0 will not open successfully.

Chief Architect will not open drawings from 3D Home Architect® 5.0 or later, as these programs were not created by the same company.