Customizing Cabinet Back and Side Panels

Reference Number: KB-03028
Last Modified: November 4, 2019

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I would like to add door or drawer panels to the sides and back of a base cabinet, how can I do this?

Kitchen with a decorate floor, an island and white subway tile backsplash on walls above base cabinets


Additional panels can be added to the side and back of cabinets from within a cabinet's specification dialog, or manually by placing panels from the library directly into the plan.

To add or customize side or back panels

  1. Using the Select Objects tool, select the base cabinet you wish to customize and click the Open Object edit button to open the Base Cabinet Specification dialog.

  2. On the Front/Sides/Back panel, click the Side drop-down menu and choose which side of the cabinet you wish to modify.

     Selecting the Left side of a Base Cabinet to modify

  3. Click the Side Type drop-down menu and choose the type desired.

    Select the Side Type using the Side Type drop-down menu on the Front/Sides/Back panel

    • Use Default - uses the default configuration as specified in the Cabinet Defaults dialog.

    • Finished / Unfinished - leaves the selected side blank; displays Finished or Unfinished in Cabinet Schedules.

    • Auto Finished - sets the selected side to Finished or automatically sets it to Unfinished when adjacent to another cabinet or a wall.

    • Paneled - applies the default panel as specified on the Accessories dialog panel, to the selected side.

    • Auto Paneled - applies the default panel to the selected side only when it is not adjacent to another cabinet or a wall.

    • Match Front - applies the same face items as the cabinet front to the selected side.

    • Custom Face - enables the Face Items settings, allowing for full customization of the selected side.

  4. In this example, set the Side Type to Custom Face, and customize it accordingly:

    Select the Blank Area Face Item and change it to a Door - Panel

    • Under the Face Items section, select the Blank Area.

    • Under the Item Type drop-down, select Door - Panel.
      Note: The panel style will be the default as specified in the Accessories panel of the Cabinet Specification dialog. To specify another style, click the Library button next to Appliance/Door/Drawer and browse for a specific panel.

    • Under the Face Items section, with the Door - Panel still selected, press the Split Vertical  button to create a split side panel.

    • Press OK to accept the changes and close the dialog.

  5. Take a Camera view to see the results.

    Camera view showing a side panel applied to a cabinet

For further examples of editing the side and back panels through the Cabinet Specification dialog, see the online training video Cabinet End Panels and Cabinet Back Panels.

In some situations it may be necessary to manually place cabinet panels.

To manually place panels

  1. In a floor plan view, go to View> Library Browser to display the Library Browser window if it's not already open.

  2. Browse to a library containing cabinet panels, such as Chief Architect Core Catalogs> Architectural> Cabinet Doors, Drawers, & Panels, or a manufacturer catalog.

  3. Select a panel and click to place it into a blank area of the plan, making sure not to click onto a cabinet. A Question message will appear reading "No suitable cabinet was selected to insert the library cabinet door/drawer. Would you like to place the door into the plan as a fixture?"

  4. Press Yes and the panel will appear as an independent object on the plan.

  5. Use the Select Objects tool to select the panel and press the Open Object edit button to open the Fixture Specification dialog.

    • On the General panel, specify the Height, Width, Depth, and Elevation of the panel if known.

    • On the Label panel, check Suppress Label to hide the label.

    Cabinet door panel in a floor plan view

  6. Select the panel object, rotate it if necessary, and move it so that it snaps to the side of the cabinet.

    Cabinet panel rotated and placed along the left side of a base cabinet in a floor plan view

  7. Create an elevation view by going to 3D> Create Orthographic View> Cross/Section Elevation , then click and drag a camera looking at the left side of the cabinet.

  8. In the elevation view, use the Select Objects tool to select the panel and use the edit handles to manually reshape it, or click Open Object to manually enter the proper dimensions for the panel.

    Cross Section/Elevation view looking at a panel placed manually on the left side of a base cabinet