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Composer Items Common Options

Composer items have a set of common properties you will find at the bottom of the Item Properties panel: Position and size, Rotation, Frame, Background, Item ID, Variables and Rendering (See figure_composer_common).


Common Item Properties Dialogs

  • The Position and size dialog lets you define the size and position of the frame which contains the item. You can also choose which Reference point will be set at the X and Y coordinates previously defined.
  • De Rotatie stelt de rotatie van het item in (in graden).

  • The checkbox Frame shows or hides the frame around the item. Click on the [Color] and [Thickness] buttons to adjust those properties.
  • Use the Background color menu for setting a background color. Click on the [Color...] button to display a dialog where you can pick a color or choose from a custom setting. Transparency can be adjusted through atlering the alpha field settings.
  • Use the Item ID to create a relationship to other Print Composer items. This is used with QGIS server and other potential web clients. You can set an ID on an item (for example, a map or a label), and then the web client can send data to set a property (e.g., label text) for that specific item. The GetProjectSettings command will list the items and IDs which are available in a layout.
  • Rendering mode helps you set whether and how the item can be displayed.


  • If you checked checkbox Use live-updating color chooser dialogs in the QGIS general options, the color button will update as soon as you choose a new color from Color Dialog windows. If not, you need to close the Color Dialog.
  • The dataDefined Data defined override icon next to a field means that you can associate the field with data in the map item or use expressions. These are particularly helpful with atlas generation (See Data Defined Override Buttons).

Modus Rendering

QGIS now allows advanced rendering for Composer items just like vector and raster layers.


Modus Rendering

  • Meng-modus: U kunt met dit gereedschap speciale effecten bereiken die anders mogelijk pas konden worden bereikt met grafische programma’s. De pixels van uw bovenliggende en onderliggende items worden gemengd via de overeenkomstig de ingestelde modus (bekijk Meng-modi voor een beschrijving van elk effect).

  • Transparency slider: You can make the underlying item in the Composer visible with this tool. Use the slider to adapt the visibility of your item to your needs. You can also make a precise definition of the percentage of visibility in the menu beside the slider.
  • checkbox Item uitsluiten voor exporteren: U kunt besluiten om een item onzichtbaar te maken in alle acties voor exporteren. Na het activeren van het keuzevak, zal het item niet worden opgenomen in PDF’s, afdrukken etc..

Size and position

Each item inside the Composer can be moved and resized to create a perfect layout.For both operations the first step is to activate the select Select/Move item tool and to click on the item; you can then move it using the mouse while holding the left button. If you need to constrain the movements to the horizontal or the vertical axis, just hold the Shift button on the keyboard while moving the mouse. If you need better precision, you can move a selected item using the Arrow keys on the keyboard; if the movement is too slow, you can speed up it by holding Shift.

A selected item will show squares on its boundaries; moving one of them with the mouse, will resize the item in the corresponding direction. While resizing, holding Shift will maintain the aspect ratio. Holding Alt will resize from the item center.

The correct position for an item can be obtained using the grid snapping or smart guides. Guides are set by clicking and dragging within the ruler area. To move a guide, click on the ruler, level with the guide and drag it to a new position. To delete a guide move it off the canvas. If you need to disable the snap on the fly, hold Ctrl while moving the mouse.

You can choose multiple items with the select Select/Move item button. Just hold the Shift button and click on all the items you need. You can then resize/move this group like a single item.

Once you have found the correct position for an item, you can lock it by using the items on the toolbar or ticking the box next to the item in the Items panel. Locked items are not selectable on the canvas.

Vastgezette items kunnen worden losgemaakt door het item te selecteren op het paneel Items en het keuzevak te deselecteren, of u kunt de pictogrammen op de werkbalk gebruiken.

To unselect an item, just click on it holding the Shift button.

Inside the Edit menu, you can find actions to select all the items, to clear all selections or to invert the current selection.


Raising or lowering the visual hierarchy for elements are inside the raiseItems Raise selected items pull-down menu. Choose an element on the Print Composer canvas and select the matching functionality to raise or lower the selected element compared to the other elements. This order is shown in the Items panel. You can also raise or lower objects in the Items panel by clicking and dragging an object’s label in this list.


Alignment helper lines in the Print Composer

There are several alignment options available within the alignLeft Align selected items pull-down menu (see figure_composer_common_align). To use an alignment function, you first select the elements then click on the matching alignment icon. All selected elements will then be aligned to their common bounding box. When moving items on the Composer canvas, alignment helper lines appear when borders, centers or corners are aligned.


The Variables lists all the variables available at the composer item’s level (which includes all global, project and composition’s variables). Map items also include Map settings variables that provide easy access to values like the map’s scale, extent, and so on.

In Variabelen is het ook mogelijk om variabelen op het niveau van het item te beheren. Klik op de knop signPlus om een nieuwe aangepaste variabele toe te voegen. Selecteer op dezelfde wijze een aangepaste variabele uit de lijst en klik op de knop signMinus om hem te verwijderen.

More information on variables usage in the General Tools Variables section.