Controlling Door and Window Framing

Reference Number: KB-00985
Last Modified: February 3, 2022

The information in this article applies to:



The project that I'm working on has custom doors and windows of varying sizes, including a number of mulled units. How do I control the framing for these wall openings?


There are a variety of ways to control how doors and windows are framed in Chief Architect. You can model the wall framing required for nearly any wall opening:

  • Using door, window, and framing defaults.
  • Using specifications for individual doors and windows.
  • By manually editing door and window framing.

To set door and window framing defaults

Door and window framing defaults are set in two places: on the Framing panel of the Door and Window Defaults dialogs and on the Openings panel of the Framing Defaults dialog.

As with other default settings, it is wise to set your door and window framing defaults to the values that will be used most often as early as possible in the design process.

  1. First, Open  the plan in which you would like to control door and window framing, or start a New Plan .

  2. Navigate to Edit> Default Settings  from the menu. 

  3. In the Default Settings dialog that displays, expand the Doors category, select Exterior Door, then click Edit.

    Selecting Exterior Door Defaults and click Edit

  4. On the Rough Opening* panel of the Exterior Door Defaults dialog:

    *Applies to X14 and newer program versions. Rough opening properties for X13 and prior versions can be specified on the Framing panel, which is discussed in the next step.

    Exterior Door Defaults on the Rough Opening panel

    • Set the amount to add to Each Side, the Top, and the Bottom for the door’s framed rough opening. 

    • Under Add for Concrete Cutout, specify the amount to add to Each Side of the door opening when the upper part of the door is in a framed wall and the lower part is located in a concrete or masonry wall, stem wall, or garage curb.

    • Uncheck Show in Plan to suppress the display of the concrete cutout in plan views. A concrete cutout will only display in plan views if it is located in a garage curb.

  5. On the Framing panel of the Exterior Door Defaults dialog:  

    Exterior Door Defaults dialog in the Framing panel

    • Specify the Header Type, Thickness, Count, Depth, and Spacing.

      Keep "Calculate from Width" checked if you want the Header depth determined by the width of the door. The Calculate from Width settings are located in the Framing Defaults, which are discussed later.

      When "Evenly Spaced" is checked, the boards that comprise the header are evenly spaced within the wall's framing layer. Uncheck this box to specify the spacing of the header boards. This option is only available in X13 and newer program versions.

    • Check Box Header if you would like to create a box header above your exterior doors.

    • Specify the Header Placement. This is only available in X13 and newer program versions.

    • Specify the Trimmer Count and the King Stud Count. The King Stud Count is only available in X14 and newer program versions.

    • Specify the Sill properties.

    • In X13 and prior versions, make your changes to the Rough Opening and Add for Concrete Cutout.

    • Specify any other settings, then click OK to apply your settings.

      Note: For more information on the various options listed here, select the Help button at the bottom of the dialog to open your program's documentation. 

  6. Remaining in the Default Settings dialog, select the Framing option from the list, then click the Edit button.

  7. On the Openings panel of the Framing Defaults dialog that displays, you can specify up to four different sizes of headers for wall openings of different widths.

    Openings panel of the Framing Defaults dialog

  8. When you are finished, click OK, then click Done to close the dialogs.


To specify the framing for an individual door or window

You can specify unique values for individual doors and windows in their specification dialogs. It's best to do this before wall framing is built; if these values are changed after wall framing is generated, you will need to generate wall framing again unless you have selected the Automatically Build Wall Framing option.

  1. Select a door or window and click the Open Object  edit button.

  2. On the Framing panel of the Door or Window Specification dialog, specify your desired values, then click OK.

    In X14 or newer versions, the Rough Opening and Add for Concrete Cutout can be made on the Rough Opening panel.

  3. If the selected object is a mulled unit composed of multiple windows and/or doors that have been blocked together, you can also specify whether the unit is framed using a single opening or separate openings for each door or window on the Options panel.

    Options panel of the Mulled Unit Specification dialog

    • Check Treat as Door to include the unit in the "Doors" category of the Materials List and in the "Mulled Door Units" Auto Schedule Category. This option is only available when the selected unit contains a door.

    • Uncheck Single Wall Hole to produce individually framed wall openings for each unit in a mulled unit. When this box is checked, a single wall opening with a header for the entire unit is produced.

To manually edit door and window framing

Once automatic wall framing has been generated, you can easily edit these framing members if needed. Plates, sills, headers, trimmers and cripples can be selected in 3D views, cross section/elevation views, and in Wall Details, while studs can be selected and edited in any view. Please see the "Manually Editing Wall Framing" and "General Framing Guidelines" articles in the Related Articles section to learn more.