Controlling the Snap Grid and the Reference Grid

Reference Number: KB-00661
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I have noticed that there are two types of grids available for my use - a snap grid and a reference grid. What are the differences between these two types of grids?


The Snap Grid and the Reference Grid fulfill two different purposes and can be manipulated independently in the Plan Defaults dialog.  For the images in this article the Reference grid and the Snap grid have been darkened so they are easier to see. 

Reference Grid

The reference grid is intended to give you a sense of scale as you draft. At a glance, you can quickly determine how many feet or meters you need to move a wall or other architectural object.The Reference Grid exists as a visual reference only and has no bearing on objects within the model.

  • Objects can never snap to the Reference Grid, but if the Snap and Reference Grids are aligned, it will appear as though they can.
  • The Reference Grid can be hidden or made visible with no effect on your model or drafting procedures.

  • By default the Reference Grid is 1 foot by 1 foot in an Imperial plan and 1 meter by 1 meter in a Metric plan. 

Snap Grid

The snap grid can serve as a drawing reference, but it can also help you control the behavior of CAD objects and CAD-based objects like polyline solids, molding polylines and slabs. If the Snap Grid is in use, CAD objects snap to points on this grid.

  • Walls can also be created on-grid, but angled or curved walls may take your design away from the Snap Grid.

  • If the Snap Grid is in use, it can be hidden, but if the Snap Grid is not in use, it does not appear.

  • By default the snap grid is 1 inch by 1 inch in an Imperial plan and 10 millimeters by 10 millimeters in a Metric plan.

To control the display of the two grids

  1. Select Edit> Defaults Settings  from the menu.

  2. In the Default Settings dialog, click on the word Plan in the list, then click the Edit button.

    A fast way to open the Plan Defaults dialog is to double-click on the Select Objects  button.

  3. The Grid Settings section at the bottom of the Plan Defaults dialog controls the display of both grid types.  

  4. For additional information about the options in this or any dialog, click the Help button at the bottom right corner.

  5. You can also quickly toggle on the display of the Reference Grid by selecting Tools> Display Settings> Display Reference Grid .

  6. To quickly turn on and off both Grid Snaps and the display of the the Snap Grid, select Edit> Snap Settings> Grid Snaps .