“Learning Chief Architect X4 Step by Step”

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Start the New Year off right:  Learn something!

Today I’m featuring a guest post by Chief Architect software user and author Terry Munson.  Terry’s latest book for Chief Architect, “Learning Chief Architect X4 Step by Step,” has recently been published and is available at www.chiefapprentice.com/Downloads.html.


Terry says:

Learning Chief Architect X4 Step by StepMy first book, Learning Chief Architect Step by Step, was based on Chief Architect X3. I then decided to write a new book focusing on the more recent version, X4 [released in July 2011], so that all the new features and enhancements could be included. So I now have two books for CA out, all in one year!  And I’ve almost finished a third book, Becoming a Chief Architect X4 Expert Step by Step, which I hope to publish by March 2012.

My intent with these books was to provide myself with readily available reference material on how to use the different tools and functions of Chief Architect software.  I kept forgetting how to do certain processes and was always spending time searching for answers in Chief’s help materials.  I’m a draftsman, not a writer, but as I got more and more into writing the book, I realized that others might appreciate something like this as well, which gave me even more incentive to keep writing.

The book is a step-by-step tutorial that takes the user from setting up defaults and templates to actually designing a house from start to finish. The user will draw a floor plan for a 2-story house, add cabinets, fixtures, appliances, stairs, roof, dormers, floor and ceiling platforms, foundation, site plan, terrain features, and whatever else is necessary for a complete home design. The book takes the user from setting up construction documents to presenting the model in 3D. They work with materials, trim and moldings, etc. It is a complete and comprehensive book for beginning and intermediate level users.

Material for the book came from various sources, such as Architectural Design Presentations (by Donald A. Totter), Working with Chief Architect (by Star Training Institute), CA’s reference manual and training videos, as well as from my own experience with using the software for the past 7 years.

After a frustrating search for a publisher, I decided to self-publish the book through Gorham Printing. The books are very high quality print (black and white), with a very secure binding — good quality work.

The softcover book comes with a CD that contains a PDF of the book (in full color), and includes the files needed for the exercises.  Both books are also available in e-book format. One nice thing about the e-book is that I was able to price it much lower than the softcover book.

When the first book became available, I got a rush of orders and was pretty excited. I got nothing but positive feedback for the book. Then Chief Architect’s academic dealer, Debbie Gray of Gray Technologies, called me.  She sounded even more excited than I was about the book. She told me that it was just what the academic market — high school and college teachers — needed to teach CA to their home design and drafting classes.  Because of her efforts, my book is now used in home design classes throughout the U.S. She also got me hooked up with CA’s authorized academic dealers, who are marketing the book.

I created a website, www.chiefapprentice.com, to help market the books, and plan to add an affiliate program as another method of marketing.  This is a very selective market, so it’s important to get the word out that these books are available.  If you have questions about the book, you can contact me directly at (253) 852-4022 or terrymunson2@msn.com.


Thanks, Terry. If you’re a Chief Architect user or student, I strongly encourage you to visit Terry’s website, www.chiefapprentice.com, to buy his book, and please spread the word to any other Chief users you know. If you’re already familiar with Terry’s books, please leave a review here in the Comments to assist others who are searching for help with learning Chief Architect.


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6 responses to ““Learning Chief Architect X4 Step by Step”

  1. This software is one of the easiest of all the home designer software around. It can be used with just about any project like landscaping, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, deck construction, interior design, remodeling. It also has a cost estimation option to find out how much such projects will cost.

    • Life Should Be 3D

      Thanks, Ronna. I started out on one of Chief Architect’s simplest versions, Interior Designer, and was quickly up to speed and modeling my own house. I think it’s great they they have lots of different versions and levels depending on people’s skills and needs. And Chief Architect Premiere, the professional version that I use now, is incredibly powerful. I still learn something new about what it can do all the time!

  2. Chief Architect is Great. I am a high school teacher who is currently using Chief Architect. Learning Chief Architect Step by Step will be a great resource to have, as I teach my students.

    • Life Should Be 3D

      Thanks for stopping by, Rick. Chief is definitely a great program, and Terry’s book is a great resource for users. I refer to it myself frequently! I’d love to hear more about your students’ experiences and reactions to learning to use Chief Architect.

  3. How easy would it be for someone to learn chief architect, who has not drawn before? I know structure and have no problem reading plans. I just want to draw them myself.

    • Life Should Be 3D

      Hi Josh,
      I learned Chief Architect on my own in 2007 without any prior experience with any other CAD program, or even hand drawn plans, and I did just fine. It’s easy to learn the basics — but ten years later, I still learn new things about the program all the time.

      One good thing about Chief is that there is a very active user forum (ChiefTalk) and also a Facebook page (Users of Chief Architect) where you’ll find lots of great people who will help you solve problems and understand the program better. Chief also has a lot of training resources on their website (chiefarchitect.com).

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