Resolving Unexpected Behavior On a Mac by Redirecting the Data Folder

Reference Number: KB-03116
Last Modified: April 26, 2022

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect InteriorsHome Designer Professional or Home Designer Architectural or Home Designer Suite


I'm experiencing one or more of the following issues when I use my Chief Architect program.

  • The software freezes or hangs when creating a new plan or layout. 

  • The software freezes or hangs when accessing the User Catalog in the Library Browser.

  • An error message appears when creating a new plan or layout.

  • An error message appears stating the software cannot read or write to a library database.

  • An error message appears stating it cannot read or cannot find a toolbar configuration.

  • Toolbars are missing when opening or creating a new plan.

  • User Catalog is missing when viewing the Library Browser.

What might be the cause of this behavior?


Templates, toolbar and hotkey configurations, and the User Catalog are all stored in the program's Data folder, which resides in the user account's Documents folder by default. These symptoms indicate that the software is having trouble accessing, reading, or writing to the files in the program's Data folder. If you're on a Mac, first provide the Chief Architect, Inc. program Full Disk Access by following the instructions in KB-03125: Troubleshooting Error Messages Associated With the Program's Data Folder.

If you continue to experience problems after following the steps in that resource, you may have iCloud Drive enabled, which might have your Desktop and Documents folders stored in iCloud. Accessing program and plan files over a cloud storage service can cause the symptoms previously mentioned, as well as more severe issues, such as data loss and/or file corruption. In this article, we will cover creating a new program Data folder that is not backed up to iCloud Drive, and then direct the program to reference this new folder.

If you'd like to remove your Desktop and Documents folders from iCloud, you can do so by following the instructions in this Apple resource.

To verify your Documents folder is on iCloud Drive

Changing the location of the Data folder should be out of necessity, so in the following steps, we'll verify that the Documents and Desktop folders are on the iCloud Drive.

  1. From the menu bar, select the Apple  icon located in the top left corner, then select System Preferences.

  2. Next, select the Apple ID icon at the top of the System Preferences window.

    In macOS Mojave (10.14) and older operating system versions, click on the iCloud icon instead.

    Open system preferences

  3. Select the Options button next to iCloud Drive in the list on the right.

    Open Apple ID page

  4. If the Desktop and Documents folders are on iCloud Drive, the Desktop & Documents Folders option will be checked.

    Open iCloud Drive Options...

    At your own discretion, you can remove the Desktop & Document Folders off of the iCloud Drive by unchecking this option. For further assistance managing your iCloud storage, please refer to the Apple resource provided at the beginning of this article or contact Apple Support.

Creating a local Data folder

In this example, a Data folder will be created and placed in the Home/User folder. The Data folder, however, can be placed in another preferred location outside of the Documents and Desktop folders, if you wish.

  1. From the menu bar, select the Go option, then click Home, as demonstrated in the image below.

    If the Go option is not available, another application may be active in the foreground. Click once in an open area on the Desktop to make it the active window.

    Open Home folder through Finder

  2. In the Finder window that opens, select File> New Folder from the menu bar or right-click in an open area within Finder and select New Folder.

    The name of the new folder will be your program version with the beginning letter of each word capitalized, followed by the word "Data."

    In this example, a Data folder is created for Chief Architect Premier X14, so the folder is titled: Chief Architect Premier X14 Data

    On a Mac, hold down the Control key while clicking to initiate a right-click command. More information about right-click commands on Apple input devices can be found in the following Apple resource: Right-click on Mac.

    Create new Data folder

    Note: If you are not sure if you have entered the name of the Data folder correctly, please refer to Step 1 in the next section.

Specifying the location of the Data folder in Preferences

  1. Open your Chief Architect or Home Designer program, select the Chief Architect/Home Designer menu option, then click on Preferences .

  2. On the Folders panel of the Preferences dialog that displays:

    Edit Data Folder path in Preferences
    Edit Data Folder path in Preferences

    • Click Browse next to the My Data Folder section at the top and select the Data folder that was created in the previous article section.

      In this example, the folder was placed in the Home/User folder, so the path is:  /Users/ChiefArchitect/Chief Architect Premier X14 Data/

      In your case, the path may be: /Users/[YOUR USERNAME]/Chief Architect Premier X14 Data/

    • Once you've specified the correct location, click OK.

  3. A message will appear stating "Changing the user data folder requires a relaunch in order for all the changes to take effect. The data from your old user data folder will not be copied to the new location, the new folder will be reset to factory defaults." Click OK and relaunch the program.

    Note: If you notice that you're now missing your User Catalog, Templates, or other custom information that you're used, that you have used previously, please see the "Backing up Chief Architect Content" and "Restoring Chief Architect Content" resources located in the Related Articles section below to learn how to copy and paste these particular files into the new Data folder.

    Additionally, if you have manually changed the plan and layout template file paths located on the New Plans panel of the Preferences dialog, you may need to revisit this panel and use the Browse button next to each option to reference the template file(s) that are located in the local Data folder.

If you still receive error messages related to reading and writing files after specifying your new Data folder, please see the "Troubleshooting Chief Architect Software Closing Unexpectedly on a Mac" resource in the Related Articles section below.