Print Composer in Quantum GIS

Print Composer is the tool used by Quantum to ready maps for presentation. In it you can add elements such as a title, legend, scale bar and north arrow. When creating a map for presentation consider your audience. If the map is for others you work with maybe you don’t need to add the symbology for a road or well since it is already known by everyone. If this same map is to be posted online you need to make sure the audience can look at the map and understand it without too much difficulty. Here are just a few of the things available in print composer

File>New Print Composer or CTRL+P


When it opens you have a blank page.  Here is where you want to adjust your paper size. That will give you more area to work with when adding elements and if you change it later you may have to move the elements again.


To add a map. Click on add a map at the top or Layout>add a map.  Then click on any corner and drag the box until you reach the size you want your map to be and then release.


To edit the location of the entire map on the paper click this symbol. This will move not only the map but also the highlighted box. 0415_3 To move just the map in the space click this button 0415_4 .

0415_9 Adds a directional arrow depending on the direction of the mouse

0415_8 Adds either a triangle, rectangle or ellipse

0415_7 Adds a new scale bar

0415_6 Adds a legend

0415_5 Adds a label (text box)

When something is added to your map it becomes an item. Then you can choose item properties to change any attributes you want.


In this example I have added a label. In the item properties dialogue box there is a heading called label and another below it called General Properties.  When an item is added all the editing is contained here. Some will have different headings.

0415_11 0415_12

These are just some quick tips on print composer. What some of the buttons mean and where to go when you want to edit an item.

One Response to “Print Composer in Quantum GIS”

  1. Ysaiah says:

    Hi.I think this is a great feature to add to QGIS. As you said, the ocitapy settings when overlaying images don’t get the best results.I did similar things a couple times (DEM + hillshade + slope) using GDAL and Mapnik, but didn’t get the results I was looking for. Didn’t go a lot further thought, I was just playing around.This will be only a visualization tool or it will also allow to export the output as a georeferenced raster ?In any case, cheers to everybody working in improving QGIS and OSGEO. I’m trying to work my way there, but I’m still on the basics.

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