Customizing a Light Fixture

Reference Number: KB-01057
Last Modified: February 13, 2019

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


My latest project calls for LED lighting in a number of locations, but I don't see any LED light fixtures in Chief Architect's library. How can I set up light fixtures for this purpose?  

Interior wall cabinets with lights shining onto base cabinet below


LED (Light Emitting Diode) light fixtures are increasingly popular because of their energy efficiency, long life, and range of uses. You can customize any light fixture in Chief Architect so that it represents an LED light or other specialty lightingtype.

This article will show you how to specify how a fixture displays in the Materials List, Electrical Schedule, and floor plan view. 

To specify how a fixture is listed in the Materials List and Electrical Schedule

  1. Open the plan in which you would like to customize a light fixture.

    In this example, a cabinet puck light is used. 

  2. Click the Select Objects button, then click on the fixture to select it.

  3. Click the Open Object  edit button.

    • On the Object Information panel of the Electrical Service Specification dialog that opens, change the Description.

    • You can enter Manufacturer, Supplier, Comment and other information if you wish.

  4. On the Components panel:

    • The Description can be used in both the Materials List and Schedules.

    • The Size is used in the Materials List but not Schedules.

    • You can enter Price and other information if you wish.

    • When you are satisfied with your changes, click OK.

To create a custom 2D CAD block

  1. With the light fixture selected, click the Open Symbol edit button. On the 2D Block panel of the Symbol Specification dialog:

    • Make a note of the name highlighted in the list of Available CAD Blocks. This is the CAD block assigned to the symbol for use in floor plan view.

    • Click Cancel.

  2. Select CAD> CAD Block Management from the menu and in the CAD Block Management dialog:

    • Locate the name of the CAD block you noted in Step 2, above, and click on it to select it.

    • Click the Insert button: the dialog will immediately close and your mouse pointer will display the CAD Block icon as well as a preview outline of the CAD block. 

  3. Click once in the drawing area to place a copy of the CAD block at that location.

  4. Using the Select Objects tool, click on the CAD block to select it and click the Explode CAD Block edit button.

    Note: It is important that you explode the CAD block before adding any information to it. If you do not, and the CAD block that you create includes a nested CAD block, you will not be able to assign it to your light fixture.

  5. The individual CAD objects that make up the CAD block can now be selected and edited individually.

    • You can also draw new CAD objects or text to add to the block. In this example, we simply added the label 'LED' to the block using text.

    • For more information about customizing an existing CAD block, see the Related Articles section at the end of this article.

  6. When you have made the necessary changes to the 2D symbol, marquee-select all the objects in the symbol and click the Make CAD Block edit button.

  7. With the CAD block still selected, click the Open Object edit button. On the General panel of the CAD Block Specification dialog:

    • Click the By Block Layer radio button to use the same line and fill style information for all component objects of the CAD block. If you choose By Object instead, the different component objects may use different colors or styleswhen assigned to the light fixture.

    • Assign a short, descriptive, unique Block Name so you can easily identify it in the future, then click OK.

    • While not strictly necessary, naming the CAD block is particularly helpful if you add it to the library. 

  8. With the CAD block still selected, you can click the Add to Library edit button and save it in your library for future use in other plans.

  9. Click the Select Objects button, then click on the light fixture to select it once again.

  10. Click the Open Symbol edit button, and on the 2D Block panel of the Symbol Specification dialog:

    • Select the name of the CAD block you just created from the list of Available CAD Blocks and click OK.

    • The light fixture will now display using your customized CAD block in floor plan view.

To customize a light source

The puck light in this example will be used to provide accent lighting on a back splash, and we can adjust its direction, intensity, and even its color.

  1. With the light fixture still selected, click the Open Object edit button.

  2. On the Light Data panel of the Electrical Service Specification dialog, modify the light source to serve your needs:

    • In this example, many of the settings here were adjusted.

    • The exact changes that you use will depend on the effect you wish to create as well as the conditions in your plan and the location you wish to place the light.

    • For more information about the settings on the Light Data panel, see the article "Working with Light Sources" linked in the Related Articles below. 

  3. On the Materials panel, you can also specify custom materials for the fixture.

  4. When you are satisfied with all the customizations you have made to your light fixture, select it and click the Add to Library edit button and save it in your library for future use in other plans.


Although more expensive than traditional light bulbs or CFL (Compact Fluorescent Light) bulbs, LED lights are often praised as the lighting of the future because of their efficiency, durability, and lack of toxic materials.

  • By some estimates, LEDs last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs, and some manufacturers are now reporting LEDs that last up to 75 times longer.
  • LEDs do not have filaments and can withstand jarring that would break other bulb types.
  • Unlike CFLs, LEDs are mercury-free.
  • LEDs convert nearly all of the energy they use into light rather than heat, allowing them to use up to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs.
  • Because they are cooler than traditional bulbs, LED lighting can help reduce air conditioning costs.

In addition to being an excellent choice for green building, LEDs offer a flexible and effective option for task and accent lighting. They are available in a range of colors and are particularly effective as directional lights, including:

  • Task and reading lamps
  • Linear strip lighting
  • Recessed ceiling lighting
  • Outdoor/landscaping lighting
  • Art lighting
  • Night lights
  • Stair and walkway lighting
  • Pendants and overhead lights