Creating and Using Layout Templates

Reference Number: KB-00737
Last Modified: July 26, 2023

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I would like to create and use a layout template in Chief Architect. How do I do this?


A template file has all of your preferred default settings, layer display options, and other file-specific information saved and waiting for you.

A layout template can also feature a border with your company information, logo, text macros and other details. When you identify a file as a template, Chief Architect refers to that file for this information any time you open a new layout file.

Creating a layout template is easy and can save you a lot of time when creating a new layout file. In this article, we will discuss how to:

To setup the orientation and size

  1. Start by selecting File> New Layout  from the menu to create a new, blank layout file.

  2. Navigate to File> Print> Drawing Sheet Setup .

    Drawing Sheet Setup dialog where the drawing sheet size, scale, and other print settings can be set

    • Set the Drawing Sheet Orientation and Size to your liking.

      In most cases, the Printer Paper and Drawing Sheet sizes should be the same.

    • Make sure the Drawing Scale is set at a 1 to 1 scale.

      Example: 1 in = 1 in

      It is important not to change this, as the drawing scale is set when you send individual views to the layout.

      For more information about drawing scale as well as line weight scaling, click the Help button at the bottom of this dialog.

    • Make any other desired changes, then click OK to apply your settings and close the dialog.

To setup layout box defaults*

*Applies to X14 and newer program versions

  1. Within a layout file, navigate to Edit> Default Settings Default Settings tool icon, select Layout Box, then click Edit to set up default behaviors for views sent to layout, as well as control their properties.

  2. On the Line Style panel:

    Layout Box Defaults dialog on the Line Style panel

    • Set the Layer the layout boxes will be created on.

    • Choose the line Color, Style, and Weight if the layout box borders are set to display.

    • If you want CAD information to stop the movement of the layout box, check the box for CAD Stops Move.

    • Set the Drawing Group you want these layout boxes to display with.

  3. On the Fill Style panel, choose a Pattern, Scale, Offset and Angle, and Pattern Appearance if you want the layout boxes to come in with a fill for the entire view.

    Layout Box Defaults dialog on the Fill Style panel

  4. On the Label panel:

    Layout Box Defaults dialog on the Label panel

    • Choose if you want to Suppress Label, use the Automatic Label, Specify Label, use a Callout, or use a Marker for your layout box labels.

      Using a Callout or a Marker will allow you to Specify details of that callout or marker respectively.

    • Decide if you want to display a border around the label and the alignment of the label.

    • Set the Position and Orientation of the label.

    • Decide what layer the label should be on.

  5. Click OK and Done to close the dialogs and confirm the changes.

To set default designer and client information

In X15 and newer you are able to set default designer/client information within the Preferences dialog.

In X14 and prior you can still set this information, but it must be done in each individual plan/layout or within your template file.

  1. To set this information in X15 and newer, select Edit> Preferences  from the menu if you're on a Windows PC or Chief Architect> Preferences  if you're on a Mac. In Preferences, go to the New Plans panel located under General.

    On the New Plans panel click Define to the right of the Default Designer/Client Information.

    •  To the right of Default Designer/Client Information click Define.

    • Fill out the information for both the designer and the client. Once you are done filling out this information, click OK.

    • Next, you can choose whether you'd like to copy this information to your newly created plans or layouts by checking the boxes for New Plans or New Layouts which can then be reported by using macros.

    In X14 and prior you can still set this information, but it must be done in each individual plan/layout or within your template file.

    • Open  your layout template or the file where you would like to specify this information.

    • Go to Tools> Designer/Client Information and select either the Designer Information or Client Information to edit it.

    • Fill out the information and click OK.

  2. To report the Designer/Client information in your files you will need to use a text macro.

    Insert a Client/Designer in a text box by clicking the Insert Macro tool, go to global, and choose Client or Designer.

    • In your layout template file go to CAD> Text> Rich Text .

    • Click where you would like the text box to be to open the Rich Text Specification.

    • In the Rich Text Specification select the select the Insert Macro tool and go to Global> Contact Info> Client/Designer and select the macro that correlates to the information you would like to be reported. You can then use these macros when creating your custom title block.

To create a layout border and title block

  1. First, go to Page 0 of the layout file.

    Page 0 is the Default Page Template. Items placed on this page show on every page of the layout that is assigned to follow this Page Template. It's possible to set up more than one page template. Please refer to the Related Articles section below for more information.

  2. Using the CAD tools, create a border and title block that you want to display on each page of the layout.

  3. Using Text or Rich Text , add a company name, project information and any other notations that you may want to display on each page of the layout.

  4. To insert a company logo, image, or PDF, select File> Import> Import Picture   or File> Import> Import PDF .

  5. Macros are special commands that insert dynamic information into a text box. After placing a text object in the layout, select the Insert Macro  tool to insert a macro.

    Text Macros are available in both plan and layout files, but are particularly useful in layouts, allowing you to automatically insert useful information such as the page number, date and time, and file name.

    Inserting the Layout Page Number macro in the Text Specification dialog

    • You can use the Layout Page Number (%page%) macro to show the page number for each page of the layout.

    • Use one of the Time or Date macros to insert the date or time in the layout to automatically let you know when you printed this layout.

    • Add the file name for this layout sheet using one of the File Info text macros.

    • Inserting this next to the binding edge will allow you to determine which file it is or even where this set of plans is located on your computer, should you need to reprint them in the future.

To save and use the file as a template

  1. Select File> Templates> Save As Template .

  2. In the Save as Template dialog that displays:

    Save as Layout Template dialog box

    • Check the box beside each category of object or data that you want to delete from the current file.

      Starting in X13, the Delete Objects tool can be also be used to delete specific information from one or more pages of a layout file.

    • Check Set Template as Default for Imperial/Metric Layouts to use the new template as your default template whenever you select File> New Layout .

    • Click OK.

  3. Give the new layout template a short, descriptive name.

  4. Click Save, and the program will automatically save the template to the program's Templates directory on your computer.

To change the default layout template

You can change the default layout template that is used whenever you open a new layout file by accessing the program's Preferences dialog. If the Set Template as Default for Imperial/Metric Layouts was checked in the section above, it's not necessary to follow the instructions below as you've already set your customized layout to be the default layout template.

  1. 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 New Plans panel of the Preferences dialog:

    New Plans panel of the Preferences dialog where Templates can be specified
    • Click the Browse button to the right of the Layout Template text field for the unit of measurement you're using.

    • In the dialog that opens next, browse to the location of your new layout template file, select it, and then click Open to specify this file as your default layout template.

    • Click OK to close the dialog.