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Creating Layouts

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Layouts are used by Maptitude to produce a page or document that consists of multiple maps, data views, drawings, and/or text. These are for useful for physical applications such as posters, reports, and presentation handouts.

To create a layout, select File->New on the main menu and choose Layout from the list of file types. This will create a new layout that uses the default printer settings. The empty layout will be displayed in its own window. The main menu will be modified with layout options, and the main toolbar will be replaced with the Layout Toolbar:

The Layout Toolbar and main menu. Click for larger view.

The Layout Toolbar and main menu. Click for larger view.

From left, to right, the first few buttons are the usual new, file open, save, and print. The button with the cogs is the Properties button. This displays the Layout Properties dialog box which is used to set the printer information (printer, page size, margins) and the layout’s title. The drop down box shows the current scale (80.1% in this example). Use this to quickly set a specific zoom level. Alternatively you can use the scale (magnifying glass) buttons on the far right of the Layout Toolbar.

The next few buttons are used for drawing guidelines. The first is the Layout Options button (page with wrench). This displays the Layout Options dialog box. Use this to set the visibility of rulers, a snap grid, and paper cut lines. You can also switch snap-to-grid on/off, and set the units and grid size. The next four buttons are used to set individual options (ruler, grid, snap-to-grid, and paper cut lines).

The next button with two documents is the Duplicate button. Use this to duplicate a single object in the layout. The next two buttons specify whether the selected object should be on top or below other objects.

The remaining buttons are all used for alignment of one or more objects, and should be familiar to users of other visual design tools. You can use these to align a set of object’s edges, and/or to center them in the layout.

Here is an example layout made from a map, an image annotation (the chart), and text annotation (the title):

A sample layout

A sample layout

 

Adding Maps to a Layout

To add a map or data view to the layout, press the Add Map/Data View button on the main toolbox (white square with an orange border). You will then be presented with a dialog box that allows you to choose which map or data view to add. If you have a legend, it will be added as a second object. This allows you to adjust their relative positions, or even remove the legend completely.

The same dialog box has an option called Frame. This draws an empty frame. Use this if you need an empty placeholder whilst designing your layout before you have the necessary map or text ready. When you have the final map ready, you can right click on the frame and select Replace.

If you wish to add a chart, you need to first export this to an image file (PNG or Enhanced Metafile are recommended) and then draw it as image annotation.

 

Annotation

A layout can include text, lines, and images; in fact all of the annotation drawing tools can be used. The Drawing Tools toolbar is displayed, and can be used in the same manner as with maps.

 

Editing Objects: Size, Shape, Orientation, Borders

Existing objects (e.g. maps and frames) can be edited by selecting them using the arrow (pointer tool) button on the main toolbox. Movement and scale markers will appear, and these can be dragged to modify the object’s shape, position, or orientation. You can also double click on the object, or right click on it in order to modify other properties.

These properties include the ability to add a border and/or a shadow to the object. A border can be useful to encapsulate the object. By choosing an appropriate border style, it can also be used to draw the viewer’s attention to the object.

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