Moving Walls Using Dimensions

Reference Number: KB-01116
Last Modified: July 15, 2021

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


How can I move walls precisely using dimensions?


Temporary dimensions will display along the length of a wall as it is drawn, helping you draw walls to the desired length. Although dimensions display as you are drawing, you do not need to position walls precisely when you first draw them as they can be easily moved into place at any time.

To draw a structure

  1. Launch Chief Architect and select File> New Plan  to create a new, blank plan.

  2. Select Build> Wall> Straight Exterior Wall , then in a clockwise fashion, click and drag out walls to create a basic structure.

    Basic L-structure created

To precisely move walls using temporary dimensions

  1. Once you have created your structure, use the Select Objects tool to select the left wall. Notice that two temporary dimensions display: one displaying length of the selected wall, and one displaying the distance between the wall that is parallel to it.

    Note: If you don't see temporary dimensions appear when a wall is selected, first make sure that they are enabled by navigating to View> Temporary Dimensions.

    If you're using X12 or a prior version, temporary dimensions will not display if there is a dimension already measuring the object that is selected, even if temporary dimensions are enabled.

    Starting in X13, temporary dimensions will appear if other dimension lines are already present, as long as temporary dimensions are enabled.    

    Two temporary dimensions displayed when a wall is selected

    You can also change how temporary dimensions locate walls when they are selected. For example, you may want temporary dimensions to locate a wall's surface (Drywall) instead of a wall's dimension layer (Framing). Navigate to Edit> Default Settings, expand the Dimension category, select Temporary Dimensions, then click Edit to change how temporary dimensions locate walls.

  2. With the left wall selected, move your cursor over one of the dimensions displayed and you will notice that the cursor turns into a pointing hand cursor .

    A pointing hand indicates an editable dimension for the selected wall

  3. Once you see the cursor change, left click once on the dimension to edit it.

    Enter in your desired value in the input field that displays

  4. Enter a new value and tap the enter key on your keyboard to close the text field and apply the change. The selected wall will move until the specified distance is reached.

    In this example, we entered a value of 25'.

    Numbers entered with an apostrophe denote feet and the numbers entered with quotes denote inches. If neither apostrophes nor quotes are included, the entered value defaults to inches.

    Left wall has moved to the typed dimension

  5. Repeat this process for the remaining exterior walls as necessary, continuing in a clockwise direction.

    Note: When resizing the exterior perimeter of a house using dimensions, it is important to work your way around the house in one direction. Relocate one wall at a time in succession so that you do not redefine the same dimensions more than once.

To precisely move walls using other dimensions

  1. Other dimensions, such as those created using the Auto Exterior Dimensions , Auto Interior Dimension , and Manual Dimension tools, can also be used to move walls in your plan.

    Automatic exterior dimensions generated for the structure

    Note: Auto Exterior Dimensions do not generate properly if there is a gap in the exterior walls. For example, sometimes angled walls may not connect properly. If automatic dimensions do not generate, try selecting Build> Wall> Fix Wall Connections.

    To generate interior dimensions automatically, click inside of a defined room to select it, then click the Auto Interior Dimension edit tool.

  2. You can use the same procedure of selecting a wall, clicking a controlling dimension, then entering the exact value you want this dimension to be.

    If you are not sure which dimensions are controlling dimensions, you can identify these by moving your cursor over the dimensions. When your cursor turns to a hand  , you are over a controlling dimension for the selected wall.

    Clicking on a controlling dimension to move the selected wall

  3. As when using temporary dimensions, you will want to continue in a clockwise direction when moving exterior walls.

    Although not as critical when moving interior walls, it's important to note that interior walls have a primary wall side that dimensions will prioritize when an interior wall is selected.