Setting up a Custom Annotation Set and Importing it into Another File

Reference Number: KB-01167
Last Modified: February 22, 2019

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier


I would like to create a custom set of defaults for my text objects for my interiors. How can I accomplish this task using Annotation Sets?  


While most objects in Chief Architect have one defaults dialog that affects all objects of that type in a given plan, there are some that support multiple sets of defaults rather than just one.

An Annotation Set is a collection of Saved Defaults for many of the tools used to annotate plan and layout files: manually-drawn Dimensions, Text, Callouts, Markers, Arrows, the Current CAD Layer, and the Active Layer Set. Multiple Annotation Sets can be saved in any plan or layout, each for a specific purpose, and you can quickly switch from set to set as you work on these various tasks.

Annotation Sets can be set up for different drawing tasks with specific annotation requirements. For example, you could create a set for site plans with large dimensions, text, callouts, markers, and arrows; a dimension format using feet, yards, or meters instead of inches or millimeters; and custom layers for dimensions and text.

In this article, a custom Annotation Set is created in a new, blank plan. We then explain the basics of customizing an Annotation set and finally, how to export the Annotation Set and import it into another file. 

To create a new Annotation Set

  1. Launch Chief Architect and select File> New Plan .

  2. Select Edit> Default Settings , highlight Annotation Sets, and click the Edit button.

  3. In the Annotation Sets dialog, select the 1/2" Scale Annotations option and click the Copy button to create a new Annotation Set named 1/2" Scale Annotations, Copy.


  4. In the Name field, rename this new Annotation Set My Interior Annotations.

To customize an Annotation Set

Now that we have created our new Annotation Set and see it displayed in the Name field, we are ready to customize it.

  1. In the Annotation Sets dialog, notice that the Current CAD Layer can be adjusted, either by selecting the Current CAD Layer from the drop-down list, or by clicking the Define button. Click the Define button to open the Layer Display Options dialog and make a Copy of the layer called CAD, Kitchen & Bath.

    • Make any changes you necessary to the new layer's properties - including name, line color, size and style.

    • Click OK to return to the Annotation Sets dialog. Your newly created layer will now be the selected Current CAD Layer.

  2. Next, move down to Dimensions and click on the green Add + button to create a New Default Name called 3/4" Scale Interior Dimension Defaults and click OK to display the Dimension Defaults.

    • Select the Primary Format panel, and use the drop down menu to change the format for Units to be in " (Inches) only and change the Smallest Fraction to be 1/32.

    • On the Locate Objects panel, under Walls, select Surfaces and Both Wall Sides. Under Openings, select Casing.

    • On the Layer panel, click the Define button to open the Layer Display Options dialog. This time, create a copy of the Dimensions, Manual layer, name it Dimensions, Interiors, make any changes we may want to its properties, and then click OK.

    • Once you have completed making changes in the Manual Dimension Defaults dialog, click OK.

  3. Continue on through setting up the defaults for Rich Text, Text, Callouts, Markers, Arrows and the Layer Set.

    Just as with the Manual Dimension Defaults, important considerations for each Saved Default include:

    • The layer each object type is placed on.

    • That layer's properties.

    • Sizing and other information set in the defaults dialog.

  4. After you have set up all of the defaults for the My Interior Annotation set, click OK in the Annotation Sets dialog, then click Done to close the Default Settings dialog.

Once you have spent the time setting up customized Annotation Sets, you may want to make them available for use in another plan. This can be especially helpful if you use custom template files and would like to include the Annotation Sets you created in those templates. 

Or you can set up one or more Annotation Sets that you can access every time you start a New Plan or New Layout by creating them in a style template directly. More information on creating templates can be found in the Related Articles section at the bottom of this page.

To move a custom Annotation Set into another plan

  1. Select File> Export> Export Annotation Sets to open the Export Annotation Sets dialog.

    • Change the Save in: location to an easy to find location, such as your Desktop.

    • In the File Name: field, type in a short, descriptive name such as My Interior Annotations, then click the Save button to save the *.cadefs file.

  2. Select File> Open Plan to open the plan in which you want to import your custom Annotation Set.

  3. Select File> Import> Import Annotation Sets  and navigate to the Desktop, or wherever you chose to save your exported Annotation Set files.

  4. Click on the file to highlight it, so that its name displays in the File name: field, and click Open.

  5. Once the Annotation Set files have been imported, select File> Save .

  6. To switch to a different Annotation Set, open the Annotation Sets dialog, select a set from the Active Annotation Set list, and click OK or use the Active Annotation Set Control on your Toolbar.