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 (Drawing Layer, Guides, Index Grid, 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.