Managing Your Archive Plan and Layout Files

Reference Number: KB-00775
Last Modified: December 18, 2018

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I see that every time I create a new plan or layout file, Chief Architect creates an archive folder and then automatically saves copies of the file into that folder. Will all these files slow down my computer's performance? Also, what should I do when the program prompts me to manage these archive files?


The Auto Archive utility in Chief Architect automatically creates a historical archive of each plan and layout file that you name and save.

The intention of the backup archives is to enable a quick recovery in the event that your production drawing becomes unusable. If your production plan is damaged and unusable, you can open an archived copy to retrieve some, although not necessarily all of your work. Because of this, Chief Architect's Auto Archive function should not be regarded as an alternative to regularly saving and backing up your work yourself.

Archives are created and stored in the Chief Architect Data folder, which by default, is located in the user's "Documents" folder. For more information on accessing your archives, please see the Related Articles section below.

While it may be a common concern, it's important to realize that archive files won't take up much room on your hard drive, nor will numerous archives inhibit or otherwise slow down your computer. Why? Modern hard drives are very large, and the amount of space consumed by the archive folder is minuscule by comparison. Because only open, currently running files will slow down your computer's performance, the archive files, (which you won't need to open in most circumstances) won't adversely affect your computer's performance.

When you save your drawing, the Auto Archived Files warning message may open, letting you know how many files are currently in the file's archive for the file and asking if you wish to manage these archived files. Managing these files means either deleting old, unneeded archives, or backing up these files somewhere off of your computer, such as on an external hard drive or server, or on a CD, DVD or flash drive.

To manage archive files

  1. When the Auto Archived Files message opens, click Yes. A Windows Explorer or Finder window will open, displaying the contents of the Archive folder.

  2. If your Auto Archive utility is set to save hourly or daily, your archive files will have a date/time stamp appending their file names.

    • If you don't see date/time stamps on your archive files, select View> Details on a Windows computer or select the List View option on a Mac computer. This will allow you to see the last Date Modified for each file so you can identify the oldest files.

  3. Copy the archive files to an external hard drive, a server computer or back up these archives to external media, like a CD or DVD.

  4. Once your archive files are backed up, you can delete some or all of the archive files in the Archive Folder if you wish.

The Auto Archived Files message regarding the management of archive files appears once the number of archive files reaches a specific, per-determined number. You can specify this Maximum File number or, if you want to, you can turn off this warning feature altogether.

To control the Manage Archive prompt

  1. First, open Chief Architect.

  2. From the menu, select Edit> Preferences  if you're on a Windows PC or Chief Architect> Preferences if you're on a Mac. 

  3. On the left side of the Preferences dialog box, under General, select File Management.

  4. On the right side of the dialog box, specify how many archive files should be created in the Maximum Files text field before the Auto Archive Warning displays.

    File management panel of the Preferences dialog

    • The default value is 14.

    • If you would like to turn off this warning, uncheck Auto Archive Warning.

      You can also specify whether Auto Archive Files are created Hourly, Daily, or by Previous Save. 

  5. Click the OK button at the bottom of the dialog box.

    To protect your work, you should not delete the archive files until you have met the following criteria:

    First, the project in question has been completed. 

    Next, the .plan files for this project, as well as all associated archive files should be backed up to a CD, DVD, USB Flash drive, or other external media. 

    Once these files have been backed up and your project has been completed, the archive files on your hard drive can be safely deleted.

Related Articles