Opening Legacy Files


Reference Number: KB-00279
Last Modified: December 12, 2018

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 or Home Designer Essentials



QUESTION

I have a number of older plans I created using 3D Home Architect® Deluxe, Chief Architect 9.5 or earlier, or Home Designer 6.0 or earlier. Will Chief Architect or Home Designer software open these older plans with the .pl# file extensions?

or

I receive a warning message of:

"This version of Chief Architect can only read plans written by Chief Architect Version 10 or later, or Home Designer 7.0 or later."
or
"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?


ANSWER

Chief Architect X9 and Home Designer 2018 and newer versions can open .plan and .layout* files from prior versions.
*.layout files not compatible with Home Designer Architectural, Home Designer Suite, Home Designer Interiors, or Home Designer Essentials.

Files with the older .pl# and .la# file extensions are no longer supported and cannot be opened by Chief Architect X9, Home Designer 2018, or newer versions.

Before opening any files created in earlier versions of Chief Architect, it is important to be aware of changes made in the newest version and the effect they may have on your legacy files. For details, see the "Before you Begin" section of the What's New chapter in your software's Help.


If you still have an older version of Chief Architect or Home Designer running on a supported operating system, then you may open these .pl# or .la# files in that version, save them as .plan files, and then open them in the newer version of the software.

The Chief Architect X8 and Home Designer 2017 and earlier versions would support opening drawings only from Chief Architect '97 (version 5.0) or newer, but plans created in Chief Architect version 4.0 and earlier could not be opened directly.

Home Designer 2017 and earlier versions would support opening drawings from 3D Home Architect® Deluxe versions 3.0 and 4.0 only.


To open 3D Home Architect files in X8 and earlier versions

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

    If you no longer have access to a Chief Architect X8/Home Designer 2017 or earlier product, the X8 Desktop Viewer can be downloaded and used for this process. Once installed, continue with Step 2 below. 

  2. From the menu, select File> Open Plan , navigate to the file's location on your computer and click on it to select it. 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 program version. Once the file is saved in the current version, 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 may not be recognized. There may be missing electrical and other object defaults, and warning messages may display on opening the file, as well as taking 3D camera views, in regards to 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 may be necessary and is recommended.

Plans created in versions prior to Chief Architect '97 (version 5) or 3D Home Architect Deluxe 3.0 will not open successfully in Chief Architect X8 or Home Designer 2017 and earlier versions.

Chief Architect never could open drawings from 3D Home Architect® 5.0 or later, as these programs were not created by the same company.