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MapInfo Layout Tricks Tips & Traps by SGSI

MapInfo Layouts: Tips, Tricks & Traps

Presented at the Puget Sound MapInfo User Group September 10, 2002 John Schlosser, Schlosser Geographic Systems, Inc. (SGSI)

MapInfo Layouts: Overview Why use Layouts? Best Practices FAQs References

Overview: What's a Layout window?

Aka "Print Preview" or "Printable page" "Paper space" for your MapInfo map, browser & other windows. Holds "frames" containing content of map or other windows. Also holds titles and other text as well as regions, points or other content.

Why use Layouts?

More flexible map titles: Titles in the Layout window won't need to be re-positioned if you change the map view (pan/zoom). It is possible to enter title text in the map window, but we strongly discourage it. Print at a specific map scale: Map frames in a layout can be set to have a specific printed map scale. In Layout window, dbl-click on the map frame. A map window "zoom" level is not is printed scale. Combine separate maps or other windows on 1 page: A layout can present both map and legend on the same page. Map legends are separate windows. It is possible to combine map and legend (awkwardly) using the "Thematic Legent Manager" tool: Tools > Tool Manager > Legend Manager ... 1/5


MapInfo Layout Tricks Tips & Traps by SGSI

Layouts can span multiple pages. Map windows can't. Browser frames in a layout can print only a few rows. Printing from a browser window, results in printing all records. Layouts can hold overlapping map or other frames. This makes it possible to have inset or key maps, among other options. Otherwise, only one window can print at a time. Print "special" windows. The Message, Info, and Statistics windows can only be printed if displayed on a Layout. WYSIWYG: Preview readability, esp. text size and line width. The layout shows the actual printed size of lines, patterns, text etc. Use "Layout > View Actual size ..." WYSIWYG: Preview which labels that will print. A map window won't display all the text labels that would print on the page, if "Allow overlapping text" is un-checked [Map > Layer Control > Labels ...] When re-positioning map labels, its useful to toggle back and forth between map and layout windows.

Using a Layout Window: Best practices

Add page titles in the Layout window only . Add map labels ( for lines, points or regions) in the Map window only . If you place titles in the Map window, the titles will need to be re-positioned each time you adjust the map zoom or pan. Rule-of-thumb: If the text should be aligned with what is on the map, the text should be in the map window. Otherwise, put the text in the Layout.



MapInfo Layout Tricks Tips & Traps by SGSI

Select a printer and page orientation before opening a Layout window. Use File > Page Setup ... before creating a Layout window, so your "paper space" will have the right shape and margins. Save your layout work by saving a Workspace There is no other way. Layout titles, frame positions and other layout content is ONLY saved by saving a Workspace. Align page titles, frames etc. Use Layout > Align objects ... to true-up object positions. There is, unfortunately, no such command in a map window. Create a "template" layout. A template layout can have predefined frames for map, company logo, disclaimer, and other standard page content. Save your Layout template as a workspace that does not reference any tables. Refer to SGSI's "Workspace: Tips, Tricks & Traps" document for more details. Record the workspace name on each layout page. Later, you will may need this filename to recreate the map for re-printing etc. You can use a small enough type size that the notation need not be intrusive.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

In the Layout my map frame has a thin black line around it. How do I get rid of it. Using the selection Pointer tool, select the frame in the Layout. Use Options > Region Style from the menu, or click on the Region Style tool button. You can specify "None" as the perimeter line style.
Note: You can use the same commands to set the background fill to a map window to be "blue", to represent water, for example.

The Layout window shows a slightly different view than my Map window. Why? Map windows may have a different "aspect ratio" (height v. width) than the frame on a layout page. Something has to give, or your layout frame will not be fully filled with map 3/5


MapInfo Layout Tricks Tips & Traps by SGSI

content. To cause the map on the Layout to correspond more exactly with the map in the Map window: -- Dbl-click on the map frame in the Layout; -- Uncheck the checkbox "Fill frame with contents"; -- Adjust the height/width of either your layout frame or your map window to suit. The row-and-column ("browser") frame on my layout does not show all the columns displayed in the separate browser window. Try widening the frame on the Layout or narrowing the column widths in the source browser window. When I select a title or other text on the layout, the highlighted area is wider (to the right) than the text itself. Why? Rely on the width of the highlighted area to align the positions of text, e.g., to be "centered". It reflects more accurately how the text will print. Alternatively, zoom in close on the Layout page to narrow the discrepancy between the highlighted area and the text. Can I drag a Layout window into a Word or PowerPoint page? No. The "Drag Window" tool works with a Map window but not a Layout window. Workaround: Use File > Save Window as ... to create a BMP, JPG or other image file of the Layout window. This image file can then be inserted into Word or PowerPoint. I have a page title and sub-title. I want them both centered on the page. I dbl-click each title and have set "Justification" to be "Centered" but the titles never get centered. Why? The "Justification" settings in the Text Object dialog apply to a single text object only (e.g., when a text entry has multiple lines of text). If you have two separate text objects, you can still align them in a Layout using the menu. Select the two objects, then: Layout > Align objects ...
Note: You cannot do this in a Map window.



MapInfo Layout Tricks Tips & Traps by SGSI

Can I place a scale bar in the Layout? Yes, the Scale Bar tool (in Tool Manager) can draw a scale bar in the Layout. Unlike scale bars in Map windows, the scale bar in a Layout will not be accurate if you, later, adjust the size of the map frame or change the map zoom level.
Note: Scale Bar tool support for Layout windows was added at Revision 6.5.

References: MapInfo Knowledge base

Date-stamping a Layout with today's date

A bit kludgey, but it works.

New North Arrow tool in MapInfo Pro 7.x

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