Method to show multiple options (kitchens or other)


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Someone asked about showing various layout options in a single plan file. I don't understand the need for it in a plan file. I do understand needing to keep it all together so here is a method I've used in various forms to deal with showing options. This is set up as a kitchen but the principals apply elsewhere. (I didn't make this up-several folks on the forum, myself included, do this sort of thing for all kinds of projects).

A zip file is attached. This is similar to a set I use for kitchens. This only uses a single plan view for each file: an existing, option 1 with plan and elevations and started option 2 only including the plan.

Set it up in a single folder that you can copy and rename (I use directory Opus to batch prepend a project name to all the files in the folder). You can have as many plans as you think you will need.

To set up:

  • place a point at absolute 0,0
  • draw walls starting there (that way if you are importing a dwg you can move it so things jive with the layout before tracing)
  • place cameras you expect to need. These are just set for kitchens. For larger project or exteriors set up elevations and sections elsewhere. (I typically only do the options by floor instead of trying to get it all in a multi floor plan until a few things are settled-a bit risky but not as messy-YMMV)
  • send your existing plan (views) and elevations to layout.
  • Once all views go to the first page, select any views on it, go a new page after the last used page (in this case that is the Option 1 Page) then paste and hold position.
  • Relink the view to the new option plan
  • Repeat for each page, copy views, go to new page, paste and hold position, link to new file.


This is so much easier working in Arch D than 11 x 17 since it has more views on a page. Relinking is the same problem for either during set up but gets easier once all is in place.


Once you have all your option plans and the layout in a folder close it all out.

Starting a new project using this:

  1. Add a project name, or whatever convention you use for naming files, to each file in the folder-all plans and layout.
  2. Open the layout.
  3. Go to menu Tools, Layout, Referenced Plan Files (it's nice if you have a hotkey for that )
  4. Relink each file to it's newly named counterpart.
  5. Save
  6. Get to work.

Hope this helps someone. There is quite a bit you can do with these principles if you think about it a bit.



Edit-this is easier now with X12 where it is possible to duplicate pages within a layout OR

Have two layouts open. In that case you set up one layout linked to an existing plan and one option plan. Save as, new name, new plan option file, link the entire layout to the new plan file.

Open the first layout, both layouts are open, add a new page to the first layout, go to plan page and select ALL the layout boxes, copy.

Go back over to the new page, paste and hold position.

Repeat as needed.

Edit- Using this in a client meeting: Set this up just prior to meeting. Open layout, open each kitchen plan, drag the tab for each kitchen plan off to create a new instance of Chief. That's easiest if you have multiple monitors but can be done on just one with a little practice.

Then, one a time, in each instance open the project browser and open a perspective (I use one plan view that is just for showing 3D cameras that I named).

During this phase I use tech illustration for rendering type which keeps the client focused on layout and not finishes and uses fewer resources than PBR

Now during the meeting you can switch between versions with alt-tab of the mac equivalent.

Just be careful how many other views, elevation etc you open depending on your computer resources.

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