• This how-to guide continues on from this article describing how to plot your data onto a simple map. We will now go through the steps to create a printable map for your manuscript or poster.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Save your qgis project before you go any further!

  2. Select Project > New Print Composer from the menu bar to bring up the Composer window
  3. Ensure you select the correct page size and orientation to match the final printer you want to output this to in the composition panel. In this case we have chosen A4 and landscape.
  4. Using the add new map button draw a rectangle where you want your map to go on the page. This will automatically fill in with the last view/zoom level you had your qgis map on when you created a map and plotted some points on it.
  5. You can adjust the view of that map by selecting the map with the Select/move item button and then the Move item content button. Click and drag the map contents in the composer window to change the map view and zoom in and out with the mouse scroll.
  6. You can add another view in a separate new map on the same page by clicking the add new map button again and drawing a smaller box somewhere on the page.

  7. When a map is selected you can change its appearance using the Item properties tab in the composition panel. For example, you can add a black frame round the maps.

8. To add tickmarks with latitude and longitude coordinates to the outside of the map expand the > Grids menu in the ‘Item properties’ tab. Click on the green plus to create a new grid and change the CRS to EPSG:4326. You can adjust lots of features here:

  • Adjust the amount of coordinates displayed using the Interval box i.e., an interval of 1 map unit displays lots of coordinates, and an interval of 10 map units shows fewer.
  • Adjust the > Grid frame to Exterior ticks and choose whether you want to display these on the left, right, top and bottom of the map.

  • Select Draw Coordinates to choose how to display the units of the coordinates. I chose Decimal with suffix, with a Horizontal display for left, top, bottom and right coordinates, and a coordinate precision of 1 decimal place.

9. You can select the inset map and set the same exterior tickmarks, or adjust them to suit the smaller map, for example, with a greater map interval to display fewer coordinates. The map so far should look something like this:

Or with some added cross gridlines like this:

10. Now it is time to save your project and export it to be used in your manuscript or poster. Click on the menu bar Composer > Save Project and Composer > Export As Image…

When saved as an image file you can crop the image later to suit your needs.


Add new map icon

Select/Move item icon

Move item content icon