Troubleshooting Chief Architect Software Closing Unexpectedly on a Mac

Reference Number: KB-02940
Last Modified: July 24, 2020

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors

Home Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite or Home Designer Interiors or Home Designer Essentials


I keep encountering errors, lockups, or the program closes unexpectedly when I run Chief Architect on my Mac computer. What might be the cause?


There are a number of different reasons why Chief Architect may be encountering errors or suddenly exiting, including the Mac not meeting the System Requirements for running the software, needing to have updated drivers (particularly for the video card), or a third party application may be conflicting with the software's operation.


Since there are a number of possible causes for the undesirable software behavior, some basic troubleshooting is required in order to identify the reason for a particular issue.

Please follow all of the recommendations in this article in order, from most to least common, until the issue has been corrected. When followed, the steps below resolve almost all known issues with Chief Architect software programs crashing on a Mac.

STEP 1 - Verify System Requirements

First, it is extremely important to make certain that your computer meets the minimum system requirements for running the software. The minimum, and recommended system requirements for running the software can be found on the website at the appropriate link for your program below.

Please note that running in an emulator, or virtual machine environment, such as Parallels, VirtualBox, or VMWare Fusion is not supported.

If your Mac does not meet the minimum system requirements for your version, then you should consider installing on an alternate system that does meet, or exceed, the requirements.

STEP 2 - Download Program Updates

If your computer meets the System Requirements for running the software, then the next step is to make sure you are using the most current program version of your Chief Architect software program.

In Chief Architect and Home Designer software programs, you can verify whether you have the latest program update by selecting Help> Download Program Updates from the program menu.

  • If you have the most recent update, then the updates page will state this.
  • If you are not running the most recent update, then selecting this option under the Help menu will take you to the most recent update for your version of Chief Architect. Follow the instructions to download and install it.

You can also access the Program Updates page on the website at the appropriate link below for your version.

STEP 3 - Basic Initial Troubleshooting

If your Mac computer meets or exceeds the System Requirements, and you are running the most recent update available for your software, then all of these additional basic troubleshooting steps bulleted below should be tested.

  • First, please note that working on files stored on a network server, external hard drive, or USB flash drive device is not supported. When working with Chief Architect files, always make sure they are saved on the local machine's hard drive.

    Having automated backups that run when files are not in use to back up to a network server or cloud drive is a great idea to ensure that in the event of a computer crash, hard drive failure, computer theft, fire or other natural disaster that you do not lose your important files.

  • Check to see if your video card's driver needs updated. On a Mac computer, these are typically included as part of operating system updates.

    To make sure that your hardware drivers are up-to-date you must make sure that your operating system is up-to-date by selecting the Apple menu, clicking on About this Mac, then selecting the Software Update button.

    Some Quadro and GeForce cards may also have updated Mac drivers on Nvidia's website directly at:

  • If your Mac has both an integrated chipset and an actual video card that it switches between for better battery life, then you may want to disable Automatic graphics switching so that the best graphics will always be used.

    Instructions on how to accomplish this can be located on Apple's website at:

    If the slowness or exiting on the Mac appears to be particularly linked to 3D camera views, dialogs which display object previews, or accessing particular objects in the Library Browser where a preview is displayed, and you have already followed the previous steps in this article, then go through the steps to Adjust the Render Preferences in your version of the software.

    Chief Architect
    Home Designer

  • If you are using a trackpad or wireless mouse, plug in a wired mouse and attempt to use it to navigate the software instead. If there is no change to the behavior you are seeing when using a wired mouse, you can return to your preferred input device.

  • If the program locks up specifically when attempting to send a view to the Layout*, Force Quit and relaunch the application. Then, open the saved layout file, or start a new layout. Keep the layout view within the same window as the Chief Architect program, and do not drag it outside of the main window or move it to a secondary monitor. With the layout open, and in the same window, attempt to resend the view from the plan file.
    *Layouts are available in Chief Architect Premier, Chief Architect Interiors and Home Designer Pro only.

  • If the program seems to hang or close unexpectedly when attempting to print, please see the appropriate article below for additional troubleshooting specific to printing.

    Chief Architect
    Home Designer

STEP 4 - Restart in Safe Mode

After testing the basic troubleshooting steps above, if you are still experiencing issues with the operation of your Chief Architect software program on a Mac computer, then you should try restarting the system in Safe Mode by following the instructions in this Apple support article:

Once you have completed the instructions, launch Chief Architect and test to see whether the issue still occurs.

If starting up your Mac in Safe Mode resolves the behavior, and if it continues to fail when restarting up the Mac normally, then there is likely a conflict with a third party application running on your system.

STEP 5 - Modify Accessibility Settings

The most common third party application conflicts that we have recorded have to do with software that modifies the Accessibility settings of the Mac.

To troubleshoot if this is the case, first Save your work then close out of the Chief Architect software if you have it open.

Next, navigate to System Preferences> Security & Privacy> Accessibility on your Mac. If there are any checkmarks next to a program application, remove them.

Accessibility section located on the Privacy tab of Security & Privacy

Note: You may first need to unlock the dialog by selecting the padlock icon in the lower left corner and entering your User Accountpassword to make changes. 

STEP 6 - Repair a Storage Device

If adjusting the Accessibility settings does not resolve the issues that you are experiencing on your Mac when using the Chief Architect software, then you may need to repair your storage device:

  • For information on repairing a storage device, please see this Apple support resource:

  • After Repairing a Storage Device, please complete the following steps:
    • Uninstall the software.
    • Shut down and restart your computer.
    • Re-install the software.
    • Then test to see whether or not the software failure continues to occur after completing these steps.

STEP 7 - Create a New User Account

If none of the above steps have resolved the issues on your Mac, then you should create a brand new Administrator User Account, log in using that Account, and attempt to use the software using the new account to test whether or not you continue to experience problems with regards to running the program.

For information on creating a new user account, please see this Apple support article:

STEP 8 - Advanced Troubleshooting

If you have completed all of the troubleshooting steps listed in this article and still have not been able to determine the cause of the slowness in your plan, then please submit all of the following information to Chief Architect's Technical Support team for advanced troubleshooting.

  1. When you notice this behavior, take a moment to write down what you were doing. Include what views you had open, what tools you were using, and what types of objects were being added, edited, or removed.

    For example, joining two particular roof planes, modifying a CAD Detail by breaking lines, editing doors/windows while a 3D camera view is open, rebuilding framing, etc.

  2. If the issue only seems to occur in one particular file, use the Backup Entire Plan/Project  tool to create a folder with a copy of the problem file, along with all referenced files.

    See Knowledge Base article Using the Backup Entire Plan/Project Tool.

  3. If you are receiving an error or warning dialog box, make sure to first search this Knowledge Base for the exact wording of the error, or click on the Check Knowledge Base button in the message if one is present, as there may be specific information relevant to that error recorded in another article. If you are unable to locate any additional information on the error, make sure to attach a screen capture image of the message.

    See Knowledge Base article Creating a Screenshot.

  4. If the software freezes or crashes, we will need to gather the Diagnostic Report (also commonly known as a "crash log") which contains data on what the software was attempting to do just before the issue occurred. To access this, please navigate to Go> Go To Folder from the Mac menu bar and enter the following file path:


    Press Enter.

  5. Locate the Message Log.

    See Knowledge Base article Locating the Message Log.

  6. Export your System Information.

    See Knowledge Base article Finding Information About your System

  7. Sign in to the Online Support Center and create a new support case to send to Technical Support.

    Online Support Center -

  8. Give the case a short but descriptive title.

    In the text of the case, type a detailed description of the problem, including the exact steps that caused the slowness to occur if at all possible. 
    The more detailed you are, the more likely we will be to reproduce the issue and identify the problem.

    Click the Browse button and attach the Backup, Screenshot, Crash Log, System Information,
    and Message Log files to your case, then Submit it.

    It is possible that Technical Support may need additional information regarding the issue, which they will request via a reply in the Online Support Center.

Note: Some of the requested information may identify you, as well as specific information about your computer, but it will also help us determine the source of the problem. Please be assured that any files submitted to Chief Architect Technical Support will be used for troubleshooting purposes only.