Create a Dashing Stroke Style

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create the perfect dashed stroke style for your next map.

Draw a Line To Preview Your New Style As It Is Built


Draw a line on the Ortelius drawing canvas so you can preview your style changes as you build a new style. Open the Style Inspector and navigate to the “Expert” pane. Keep your line selected for the next step.

Create New Style


From the Action Menu (looks like a gear), choose “New Style” from the drop-down list. A new ad-hoc style will be created ready for your use. Alternatively, choose “Clone Style” to create an new ad-hoc style based on the current one.

Edit Style Components


For this example, delete the Fill style component by selecting it from the list and clicking the “–” delete button.

Next, select the Stroke style component and change the line width. Note: you may see drawing units or real world units instead of points – display units are changed by choosing View > Display Units from the main menu.

Optionally, click onto the color well to edit the color of your stroke, in this example we’ll use an Ortelius blue.

Add a Dashed Stroke


Add a second stroke by clicking “+” add button and choosing “Stroke” style component from the drop-down menu. The new stroke will lay on top of your original stroke. Make it 1.0pt wide and change the color to white.

Choose a dash pattern from the “Dash” drop-down menu or choose “other” to customize your dash pattern.


To make adjustments to your dash pattern, choose “Other” from the drop-down menu. The length of individual dashes and spaces can be finely adjusted. Your dash pattern can contain pairs, for example a dash-dot-dash pattern.

By checking “Scale to path’s stroke weight” the dash pattern will automatically adjust if the stroke weight is changed.

Alternatively, dashes can be adjusted by grabbing and dragging the dash handles in the style-well.

HINT: To create a dotted line pattern, adjust the stroke width and dash length to be the same and choose round-ended end-caps for the stroke cap style.

Name and Save


Notice the style does not yet have a name. This will be an ad-hoc style until you name it and add it to the Library. If you are creating the style for one-time use, you do not need to save it to the Library.

When you are satisfied with your new style, return to the “Style” header in the style component list and name it. Click “Add Style To Library” and add it to an appropriate category. Your style is now in the Library and ready for repeated use. Choose a drawing tool and select your new style from the Symbols Palette.

Ortelius Featured on A VerySpatial Podcast

10.04.09 A VerySpatial Podcast – Episode 220 interview with Mapdiva co-founder, Jill Saligoe-Simmel. In the interview Jill talks about the creation of Mapdiva, and the development of Ortelius, their newly-released map illustration program for the Mac platform.