Explore how to use Ortelius’ robust features with these getting started videos.
Getting Started with Ortelius
Ortelius provides a clean user interface consisting of a drawing canvas, floating palettes, and layer list. Access functions through the main menu located along the top of the screen. In the main window, the toolbar provides quick access to commonly used palettes and functions. The layers list shows four default layers (Index Grid, Drawing Layer, Guides and Graph Paper) when opening a new empty drawing file. Additional layers can be added by the user.
Tools are used in combination with the Format Bar, Styles Inspector, and Styles & Symbols palette. The Styles & Symbols palette contains over 1700 editable map symbols and styles organized into Collections and Categories.
Map Drawing Setup
When you first open Ortelius, you’ll see a new blank document. Open the Template browser to select a template, or open the Map Size & Units dialog to set your dimensions, drawing units, map scale, and more.
Ortelius includes a selection of pre-designed world, region, and country map templates to outline and locator maps. Choose a template, or click New Blank Document… to setup a new drawing. You can also access this dialog by choosing File > Map Size & Units… from the main menu.
To set your canvas size and drawing units, choose the units from the drop-down menu (millimeters, centimeters, inches, points). Accept the default canvas size, or enter your own width and height. Optionally, add a background color or texture. Your personal settings can be saved as the default setup for new documents.
Map Area Margins…
Graph Paper settings, including grid line spacing and color scheme, can also be adjusted. As desired, adjust the grid spacing and color scheme, and make the graph paper layer visible. To make your objects snap to the graph paper as you draw, choose Graphic > Snap To… > Graph Paper from the main menu. You can also change your Preferences to snap to Graph Paper whenever it is visible.
Add guide lines to your drawing by dragging them to and from the Rulers. Guide lines are placed on their own layer, which can be shown, hidden, and adjusted; after adding guides, click back onto one of your drawing layers and continue drawing. To make your objects snap to the guides as you draw, choose Graphic > Snap To… > Guides from the main menu.
At its foundation, Ortelius is loaded with the basic and necessary graphic design drawing tools. Use the drawing tools, including special shapes, flowing paths, and beautifully rendered text to create feature objects, titles, and build your own custom map symbols. All shapes and paths have simple, direct controls to move points, curve handles, resize, rotate, change corner radius, and more – all with a single Select tool.
Choose a drawing tool, choose a style from the Styles & Symbols palette or create your own, and draw. We’ll learn more about working with styles in the upcoming sections.
Hold the SHIFT-key to maintain the aspect ratio while drawing and resizing shapes. Hold the CMND-key to draw shapes out from center (modifier keys can be used in combination). Use the Select [s] tool to move the rotation knob to rotate. You can hold the SHIFT-key to constrain angles while rotating. Double-click any shape to convert it to its path (and vice-versa) for “quick edit mode.” While editing paths, you have full control to add, move, rotate, and nudge path points and handles. Use the Add Point and Remove Point tools as desired.
Ortelius’ special shapes include Round Rectangles, Arcs, Wedges, and Regular Polygons. Use the Select [s] tool to make direct adjustments to these special shapes, such as corner radius, arc angle, tips, valleys, radius, diameter, and more.
Get precise control for object width, height (or length), and position using Ortelius’ Geometry panel. Additional settings are available for all Ortelius special objects, and opacity is supported for image shapes. Use the Toolbar to access commonly used functions.
Bezier Paths [b] are among the most powerful drawing tools, but may be least familiar to some users. If you need some practice, you can find hands-on exercises in Ortelius’ Templates (File > Templates > New From Template…). To draw a curved path, click-hold-drag the curve handle away .. click once to add a corner point, use the Delete-key to remove the last-placed point, double-click or use the Esc-key to end your path. Use the Select [s] tool to edit a path. You can hold the CMND-key to drag a handle away from its point and to move curve handles independently; Hold the SHIFT-key to constrain the angle of the curve handle while you draw, and hold the Option-key to adjust curve handles synchronously. Right-click the object to access its context menu for more options.
Add beautifully rendered text with the Text Box [t] tool. Drag the text box object handles to resize text boxes. Use Text On Path tool for elegantly curved text paths. Double-click text with the Select [s] tool to edit. The Fonts panel offers font selection and custom effects, including outline, shadow, and mask. Align, kern, change case and baseline are available options. Font effects and options can be applied to blocks of text, individual words, and and even individual glyphs! For full creative control, including applying styles and distortion, you can convert text to shapes, shape groups, and paths.
The Ortelius toolbar provides quick access to align objects and change their drawing order. Select the objects and click the available icon. To customize your toolbar, right-click it and choose “Customize…” from the contextual menu.
Quickly create interesting and complex objects by combining two or more shapes using Ortelius’ advanced Boolean operators. When you have two or more objects selected, the Union, Intersect, Difference, Append, and Cookie Cutter commands are available in the toolbar.
Creating smooth and automatic junctions between tracks is a hallmark of Ortelius. Ortelius’ exclusive Cartography Tools are vector drawing tools made specifically for map design. Connectable tracks have special cartographic properties that allow intersecting lines to form smooth junctions, accept adornments, termination styles, feature labels, special overlay styles, and more. These connector tracks look similar to regular drawing objects, but they are indeed special.
Ortelius tracks are smarter – tracks know about other tracks, and automatically form networks that represent a road, street, rail or even waterway network. When a track is connected to another track, it forms a junction.
Ortelius uses layers to keep your drawing organized. Think of Ortelius’ layers like a stack of tracing paper (or transparent mylar). Just like drawing on paper, each layer can hold multiple graphics in your drawing.
Layers are discrete like paper – multiple objects are not selectable across different layers. Add new layers and layer groups as desired. Click a layer name to make it active and work with objects on that layer. For example, you can place an image on one layer, then use another layer on top to draw features. Move objects among layers using the Layer menu commands.
Ortelius’ automatic Graph Paper features standard cartesian grids based on your customizable grid settings. To change the graph paper settings, choose File > Map Size & Units – Graph Paper tab from the main menu, or right-click the Graph Paper layer. To keep objects and text aligned to the graph paper grid, choose Graphic > Snap To Graph Paper from the main menu. If you’d like Snap To Grid to always be the setting when the Graph Paper is visible, you can set that preference in the Ortelius > Preferences menu.
The Index Grid layer provides an overlay grid with customizable cell size and labels. To change the index grid settings, choose File > Map Size & Units – Index Grid tab from the main menu.
Border layer to your map to provide neat lines and background fills. Choose Layer > New Border Layer from the main menu. With the border layer active, drag any stroke or fill style onto the map canvas.
Layout is a key element to good design. Guides are used extensively during layout to keep objects properly aligned. Guides are placed on a Guide layer.
With the Rulers visible (View > Show Rulers & Format Bar from the main menu), drag from a ruler onto your drawing canvas. A guide will be placed. Constrain guides to the Graph Paper divisions by holding the SHIFT key while moving a guide. Multiple guides can be placed, and the layer can be made visible or hidden from the layers list. Guides are not printed. To keep objects and text aligned to the guides, choose Graphic > Snap To Guides from the main menu. Drag a guide off the canvas area onto a ruler to delete it. When you’re finished, click back onto a drawing layer to make it active and continue drawing.
Symbols have many special properties beyond traditional clip art.
Symbols are created from graphic objects, groups of objects, text, and/or images. When a symbol is originally created it is assigned the status of “master” and stored in the Library Manager. Each time you place a symbol on your map with the Symbol Stamp tool, an “instance” of its master is placed. The master supplies all the common properties, such as what it looks like, to all the instances of the symbol. If a master is changed, all the instances of that master (across all documents) will change as well.
Symbols are organized into Collections and Categories. Each category can contain either symbols or styles, or both. The Styles & Symbols palette toolbar drop-down menu lets you view the collections by category. To add symbols to your drawing, use the Symbol Stamp tool with symbols, or drag symbols directly from the palette on to your drawing canvas.
Press and drag to reposition a symbol. Drag the symbol handle to scale it.
To add labels, right-click a single symbol and choose ‘New Label‘ from the context menu, or select multiple symbols and choose Edit > Labels & Text > New Label from the main menu. Double-click the label to edit (we’ll learn more about using attributes for labels later). A single label can be stylized, then copy-pasted onto other symbols.
To replace existing symbols, select one or more symbols on your drawing canvas, then double-click the desired replacement in the Styles & Symbols palette.
Symbols can be designed with special properties, such as text attributes for stylized labels, sequence markers, and road shields. Symbols can be snapped to tracts to become attributes of linear features.
Symbols may be detached from their master, at which point they loose their special status and are fully editable graphics (may need ungrouped in order to be edited).
Any art work that you create can be saved as a symbol to your User Library. As needed, make sure objects are grouped before saving as symbols. Choose Edit > Add Symbols To Library… from the main menu. Graphics can also be saved as vector clip art by choosing “Automatically detach from master” upon creation.
Use the Library Manager to keep symbols organized. Here you can add new collections, organize styles and symbols into categories, and more. Ortelius delivers with over 1700 built-in styles and symbols. Built-in styles and symbols are locked to prevent changes to the originals, but can be used as-is, cloned, copied, and made your own.
Drawing with Styles
The Format Bar provides quick access to simple fill and stroke style editing. To change an object’s stroke or fill color, click onto the color-well to reveal a drop-down grid of colors, or quick-click the color-well to open the Colors panel.
Click “Reset” to reset the style to the default black stroke and grey fill.
Please note that advanced “expert” styles, such as patterned and gradient fills, are created and edited using Ortelius’ powerful Style Inspector.
To draw using the built-in styles, open the Styles & Symbols palette:
Choose a drawing tool, choose a style from the palette, and begin drawing
To apply a different style to an existing object, select the object(s) in your drawing and double-click a style from the palette
Alternatively, drag styles directly from the palette onto shapes and paths
Use the toolbar drop-down menu to view the collections by category; each category can contain either clip art or styles, or both
Use the Style Dropper tool to pick-up and drop styles from one object onto another. For “quick pick-up” of styles that are already in use, hold the CMND-key while drawing and click on an existing object to pick-up its style and keep drawing.
Building Expert Styles
Ortelius stands apart with its expert “stacked styles” that go way beyond simple fill and stroke, providing a wide range of spectacular effects. Open the Style Inspector and have fun experimenting with expert styles.
Click “Reset” to create a new style based on the default, or “Clone” to create a new style based on the one currently in use. Create awesome style combinations, such as multi-stroked paths; tapered, rough, and arrowed paths; gradients, patterns, and hatched fills; filter effects groups; and more. Click the “+” button to add new components from the drop-down list. Drag-and-drop to re-order style components. Right-click to copy and paste components. Click “New” to reset the style to the default.
As desired, you can name, add an optional description, and save your styles to “My Library” for later use.
Ortelius is packed with power. Take advantage of Ortelius’ cascading “shared” styles that cascade across objects. Create 20 objects in a row, and they will share the same style; adjust the style and it will automatically cascade across all three.
So, if you edit a shared style the changes are applied across all objects where the style has been used. In this way, changes to styles across multiple objects can be made very quickly and efficiently.
You can break the style link between successive objects by clicking “Reset” to reset to the default style, or “Clone” to create a new style based on the one currently in use.
Importing Images & SVG
To import images into your drawing, drag images or SVG vector files from the Image Browser directly to your drawing canvas. Ortelius imports PNG, JPG, non-editable PDF, and TIFF images as well as vector SVG files.
You can also choose File > Take Picture… to add a picture from your FaceTime camera. If an image is larger than the Ortelius canvas size, it will be scaled to fit the canvas (though can be rescaled in the Geometry panel). You can even drop pictures directly onto shapes to fill the shape with the image. The Image Browser provides quick access to your iPhoto, Pictures folder, and Smart folders, and you can attach other folders as desired.
In addition to its native Ortelius file format, Artboard also opens editable vector SVG 1.1 files. SVG files are converted into Ortelius files upon opening and can be saved as such. Note, some SVG files that include filter extensions may not open properly.
To mask and crop an image, double-click it with the Select [s]tool to make the image active for editing. Grab the image bounding box corners and adjust its bounding box.
Move the slider to scale your image. As needed, click and drag the image to reposition it inside its bounding box.
To adjust an image’s properties, such as exposure and saturation, double-click it with the Select [s] tool to make the image active for editing. Adjust the image properties in the image editing dialog, or choose from a variety of image preset effects.
You can also mask and clip images with complex shapes using the traditional “Intersect” Boolean operator.
Save, Print & Export
Ortelius is optimized for Mac OS X, including full screen, resume, autosaving and versions. Auto-save will periodically save your work for you.
Choose File > Save a Version to manually save your file. Choose File > Duplicate to create a new file that is a copy of the current file. You can also save any document as a template file for later use. Choose File > Save Copy As Template… Note, if you prefer not to use Autosave and Versions you can disable it under Ortelius > Preferences > Options.
Ortelius’ flexible layout offers single page and “poster-tiled” printing. Choose File > Print to open the print dialog. Click Show Details to reveal the print options, including “Fit to Single Page,” “Graph Paper,” and “Crop Marks.” Your drawing canvas can be larger than your actual printer paper size – if it is larger you can either “poster-tile” print your drawing over multiple sheets (default), or “Fit to Single Page” when printing. To make sure your printer is set with the proper paper size and page orientation, choose File > Page Setup… before printing.
[[If you need to setup your drawing to print to a specific paper size, enter the paper dimensions and check “subtract paper margins.” This will fit the drawing canvas within the printable area of your paper. Before printing, make sure the printer “Page Setup…” has your paper size and page orientation. Note, your drawing canvas can be larger than your actual printer paper size – if it is larger you can either “poster-tile” print your drawing over multiple sheets, or “shrink-to-fit” when printing.]]
Choose File > Export… to export for web and print using the most popular raster formats – PNG, JPG and TIFF resolutions from 72 to 600-dpi; and editable vector PDF files (the native AI file format). TIF, PNG, and PDF support alpha-transparent backgrounds. Export your entire drawing or just your selected objects. Additionally, Artboard supports copy and paste or drag-and-drop graphics between popular productivity applications, such as iWork™ Pages and Keynote.