Sharing a Plan File With a Home Designer User

Reference Number: KB-00516
Last Modified: November 30, 2023

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I would like to be able to send my plans back and forth between myself and someone else who is using a different Chief Architect product, such as Home Designer. How can I send them a plan that they can open and modify in their product?


If a Chief Architect user wants to be able to send a Home Designer user a file, first check to make sure that the versions that both users have are compatible. If the versions are compatible, then the Chief Architect user needs to enable a setting that allows editing in Home Designer programs before sending the file.

If you are uncertain as to whether or not your version of Chief Architect is the same version as the individual using the Home Designer program, you can use the information listed below.

  • Chief Architect X15 <=> Home Designer 2024
  • Chief Architect X14 <=> Home Designer 2023
  • Chief Architect X13 <=> Home Designer 2022
  • Chief Architect X12 <=> Home Designer 2021
  • Chief Architect X11 <=> Home Designer 2020
  • Chief Architect X10 <=> Home Designer 2019

Keep in mind that, as a Chief Architect user, you can open a plan file created in an earlier version of a Home Designer program and you will be able to open and modify the file. However, if you send it back to someone using a prior Home Designer version, they will not be able to reopen the file in their version.

For example, if the Home Designer person is using a Home Designer 2023 program, and you are using Chief Architect X15, then they will be able to send you their file, which you can open, modify and save, but they will not be able to reopen the file unless they upgrade to the equivalent 2024 software. 

If you are using the current version of Chief Architect, but your client is using an older discontinued Home Designer program, they will need to upgrade to the current version of Home Designer, or instead request the Chief Architect Viewer program.

To share a plan with a Home Designer user

  1. Open the plan file that you want to share.

  2. Select Tools> Layer Settings> Display Options from the menu and lock any layers you don't want the user to modify, then click OK.

    Note: If your client or colleague is using Home Designer Pro, they can still unlock/lock layers.

    Locking the Doors layer in the Layer Display Options dialog

  3. Select Edit> Default Settings , and in the Default Settings dialog, click on Plan, then click Edit.

    Select the Plan option in the Default Settings, then click Edit

  4. In the General Plan Defaults dialog that displays, check the Allow Editing in Select Home Designer Products box.

    Check Allow Editing in Select Home Designer Products located in the General Plan Defaults dialog

  5. Click OK and Done to close the dialogs, then click Save .

    Please note that the editing abilities available to the Home Designer user will be within the limitations of their program. For example, Home Designer Suite does not have the capability to manually edit roof planes.

  6. Next, select File> Backup Entire Plan/Layout from the menu.

  7. In the dialog that appears, select Backup Plan Files and All Referenced Files, check the option to Send Backup Files to Zip Archive, then click OK.

    Backup Entire Plan dialog

  8. Specify a filename for the zipped folder along with a location to save it to, then click Save

You can now send this zipped folder to a Home Designer user.