4.1. Lesson: Using Print Layout

Now that you’ve got a map, you need to be able to print it or to export it to a document. The reason is, a GIS map file is not an image. Rather, it saves the state of the GIS program, with references to all the layers, their labels,colors, etc. So for someone who doesn’t have the data or the same GIS program (such as QGIS), the map file will be useless. Luckily, QGIS can export its map file to a format that anyone’s computer can read, as well as printing out the map if you have a printer connected. Both exporting and printing is handled via the Print Layout.

The goal for this lesson: To use the QGIS Print Layout to create a basic map with all the required settings.

4.1.1. basic Follow Along: The Layout Manager

QGIS allows you to create multiple maps using the same map file. For this reason, it has a tool called the Layout Manager.

  1. Click on the Project ▶ Layout Manager menu entry to open this tool. You’ll see a blank Layout manager dialog appear.

  2. Under New from Template, select Empty layout, click the Create… button, and give the new layout the name of Swellendam.

  3. Cliquez sur OK.

(You could also close the dialog and navigate to a layout via the Project ▶ Layouts ▶ menu, as in the image below.)


Whichever route you take to get there, you will now see the Print Layout window:


4.1.2. basic Follow Along: Composition d’une carte de base

Dans cet exemple, la composition était déjà telle que nous la voulions. Assurez-vous de faire de même.

  1. Right-click on the sheet in the central part of the layout window and choose Page properties… in the context menu. Check that the values in the Item Properties tab are set to the following:

    • Size: A4

    • Orientation: Landscape

    Vous avez maintenant la mise en page que vous souhaitez, mais cette page est encore vierge. Il manque clairement une carte. Ajoutons cela !

  2. Click on the addMap Add New Map button.

    With this tool activated, you will be able to place a map on the page.

  3. Cliquez et faites glisser un bloc sur la page blanche :


    La carte apparaîtra sur la page.

  4. Déplacez la carte en cliquant et en vous déplaçant autour:

  5. Resize it by clicking and dragging the boxes on the edges:



    Votre carte peut être très différente, bien sûr ! Cela dépend de comment est configuré votre propre projet. Mais pas de panique ! Ces instructions sont générales, donc elles fonctionneront de la même manière, peu importe à quoi ressemble la carte.

  6. N’oubliez pas de laisser des marges sur les bords, et un espace sur le dessus pour le titre.

  7. Zoomez et dézoomez sur la page (mais pas sur la carte !) en utilisant ces boutons :

    zoomFullExtent zoomIn zoomOut

  8. Zoom and pan the map in the main QGIS window. You can also pan the map using the moveItemContent Move item content tool.

    The map view updates as you zoom in or zoom out.

  9. If, for any reason, the map view does not refresh correctly, you can force the map to refresh by clicking this button:


    Remember that the size and position you’ve given the map doesn’t need to be final. You can always come back and change it later if you’re not satisfied. For now, you need to ensure that you’ve saved your work on this map. Because a Print Layout in QGIS is part of the main map file, you must save your project.

  10. Go to the Layout ▶ fileSave Save Project. This is a convenient shortcut to the one in the main dialog.

4.1.3. basic Follow Along: Ajout d’un Titre

Now your map is looking good on the page, but your readers/users are not being told what’s going on yet. They need some context, which is what you’ll provide for them by adding map elements. First, let us add a title.

  1. Click on the label Add Label button

  2. Click on the page, above the map, accept the suggested values in the New Item Properties dialog, and a label will appear at the top of the map.

  3. Redimensionnez-la et place-la en haut au centre de la page. Elle peut être redimensionnée et déplacée de la même façon que lorsque vous avez redimensionné et déplacé la carte.

    Lorsque vous déplacez le titre, vous remarquerez que des lignes directrices apparaissent pour vous aider à positionner le titre au centre de la page.

    However, there is also a tool in the Actions Toolbar to help position the title relative to the map (not the page):


  4. Click the map to select it

  5. Hold in Shift on your keyboard and click on the label so that both the map and the label are selected.

  6. Look for the alignLeft Align selected items left button and click on the dropdown arrow next to it to reveal the positioning options and click alignHCenter Align center:


    Now the label frame is centered on the map, but not the contents. To center the contents of the label:

    1. Sélectionnez l’étiquette en cliquant dessus.

    2. Click on the Item Properties tab in the side panel of the layout window.

    3. Changez le texte de l’étiquette en « Swellendam » :

    4. Utilisez cette interface pour configurer les options de police et d’alignement :

    5. Choose a large but sensible font (the example will use the default font with a size of 36) and set the Horizontal Alignment to Center.

      Vous pouvez également changer la couleur de la police de caractère, mais il est probablement préférable de la laisser en noir, comme par défaut.

    La configuration par défaut n’ajoute pas de cadre autour de la boîte de texte du titre. Cependant, si vous le souhaitez, vous pouvez le faire :

    1. Dans l’onglet Propriétés de l’objet, faites défiler vers le bas jusqu’à ce que vous voyiez l’option Cadre.

    2. Cochez la case Cadre pour activer le cadre. Vous pouvez également changer la couleur et l’épaisseur du cadre.

    Dans cet exemple, nous n’activerons pas le cadre, ainsi voici notre page telle qu’actuellement :


    To make sure that you don’t accidentally move these elements around now that you’ve aligned them, you can lock items into place:

    • With both the label and map selected, click the lockItems Lock Selected Items button in the Actions Toolbar.


    Click the unlockAll Unlock All Items button in the Actions Toolbar to be able to edit the items again.

4.1.4. basic Follow Along: Ajout d’une Légende

The map reader also needs to be able to see what various things on the map actually mean. In some cases, like the place names, this is quite obvious. In other cases, it’s more difficult to guess, like the colors of the forests. Let’s add a new legend.

  1. Click on this addLegend Add Legend button

  2. Click on the page to place the legend, accept the suggested values in the New Item Properties dialog, and then move it to where you want it:


4.1.5. moderate Follow Along: Personnaliser les éléments de légende

Pas tout dans la légende n’est nécessaire, alors enlevons quelques éléments non souhaités.

  1. Dans l’onglet Propriétés de l’élément, vous trouverez le panneau Élements de la légende.

  2. Select the entry with buildings (from training_data.gpkg).

  3. Delete it from the legend by clicking the signMinus button:

Vous pouvez aussi renommer les éléments.

  1. Sélectionnez une couche dans la même liste.

  2. Click the edit button.

  3. Rename the layers to Places, Roads and Streets, Surface Water, and Rivers.

  4. Set landuse to Hidden (right-click to bring up the context menu).

You can also reorder the items:


Comme la légende sera probablement élargie avec les nouveaux noms des couches, vous pouvez déplacer et redimensionner la légende et/ou la carte. Voici le résultat :


4.1.6. basic Follow Along: Exporter votre carte


Avez-vous pensé à souvent sauvegarder votre travail ?

Finally the map is ready for export! You’ll see the export buttons near the top left corner of the layout window:

  • filePrint Print Layout: interfaces with a printer. Since the printer options will differ depending on the model of printer that you’re working with, it’s probably better to consult the printer manual or a general guide to printing for more information on this topic.

    The other buttons allow you to export the map page to a file.

  • saveMapAsImage Export as Image: gives you a selection of various common image formats to choose from. This is probably the simplest option, but the image it creates is « dead » and difficult to edit.

  • saveAsSVG Export as SVG: If you’re sending the map to a cartographer (who may want to edit the map for publication), it’s best to export as an SVG. SVG stands for « Scalable Vector Graphic », and can be imported to programs like Inkscape or other vector image editing software.

  • saveAsPDF Export as PDF: If you need to send the map to a client, it’s most common to use a PDF, because it’s easier to set up printing options for a PDF. Some cartographers may prefer PDF as well, if they have a program that allows them to import and edit this format.

Pour nos fins, nous allons utiliser un PDF.

  1. Click the saveAsPDF Export as PDF button

  2. Choose a save location and a file name as usual. The following dialog will show up.

  3. You can safely use the default values now and click Save.

    QGIS will proceed to the map export and push a message on top of the print layout dialog as soon as it finishes.

  4. Click the hyperlink in the message to open the folder in which the PDF has been saved in your system’s file manager

  5. Open it and see how your layout looks.

    Everything is OK? Congratulations on your first completed QGIS map project!

  6. Anything unsatisfying? Go back to the QGIS window, do the appropriate modifications and export again.

  7. Remember to save your project file.

4.1.7. In Conclusion

Now you know how to create a basic static map layout. We can go a step further and create a map layout that adapts dynamically, with more layout items.