The Object Inspector

The Object Inspector provides for close inspection and editing of all your drawing objects and map features. The Object Inspector is context-sensitive, so its function will vary based on the type of object(s) you have selected.

Opening the Object Inspector


Do one of the following:

  • Click the Object Inspector icon on the toolbar.
  • Choose Window > Object Inspector from the main menu.

Using the Object Inspector’s Geometry Pane


The Geometry pane displays an object’s geometric and location properties. At the top of the window the object type, for example “Shape,” for the current selection is displayed. If multiple different objects are selected, “Multiple Objects” is displayed. The total number of objects in the selection is listed.

  1. Edit one or more object(s) size. Width and height are displayed for the bounding box of the selected object (for linear objects, this does not represent the length). The lock icon near the width and height settings locks or unlocks the object’s aspect ratio. When unlocked, the width and height can be set independently. When locked, the width and height are resized proportionately.
  2. Rotate one or more objects and symbols by changing the Angle setting.
  3. Edit the X,Y Location setting – it references a shape or symbol’s centroid; it references the upper left corner of the (invisible) bounding box for linear objects.
  4. Individually lock graphics as desired, as well as make them visible or hidden, or “ghosted” (a handy feature to temporarily eliminate clutter and improve performance in complex maps during the drawing process).

The style applied to the object(s) is displayed. If multiple different styles are applied to the selected objects, “multiple styles” is displayed.

HINT: Units are displayed in the same unit of measure specified in View > Display Units in the main menu. Click the “Current Units” button to switch to viewing the percentage width/height of the original object.

HINT: A single objects’ geometry can also be edited from the sidebar Geometry panel.

Using the Object Inspector’s Attribute Pane


Attribute information, when available, is shown in the Object Inspector. The Object Inspector search bar is used to filter attribute information.

To add an attribute, such as an object name, select one or more objects and click the ‘+‘ button. When adding a ‘string’ type attribute, the attribute “NAME” with a blank value is initially added. “NAME” is the default attribute used by most text labels.

NOTE: Shapefile support is limited in Ortelius. Though georeferencing is not supported, attribute information is retained.

To Quick-Open the Attribute Editor:

Connectable tracks, regular shapes, and symbols are the most common objects to associate with attribute data.

  1. Double-click these objects to automatically open the Object Inspector’s Attribute Editor to quickly view and edit their attributes.

HINT: Double-clicking special objects, such as rounded rectangles and arcs, and regular paths will quick-convert the objects to shapes for editing rather than opening the Object Inspector. To convert regular shapes to paths for editing, choose Graphic > Convert To from the main menu or right-click and choose ‘Convert To Path’ from the contextual menu.

Using the Object Inspector’s Features Pane


The Object Inspector is context-sensitive, which means it knows what type of object or objects you have selected and responds appropriately. The following describes the various capabilities of the Features pane within the Object Inspector:

  • TEXT– When text objects are selected, the Object Inspector’s Features pane provides options for formatting the text object. Options include changing font, style, color, and alignment. When placing labels over complex backgrounds, text with a colored outline (text casing) or mask can help keep text clear.
  • CONNECTABLE TRACKS – The Features available when selecting a connectable track include setting how the line ends are terminated (they can be open-ended (default), capped off with a bar, or end with a turning circle). You can also set the type of track so that only tracks having matching types will connect with each other, for example so that roads will not connect to waterways if they reside on the same layer. You can change settings for Width Adaptors (used for transitioning between different line styles on a track). Finally, you can disconnect all junctions connecting to the track (may be used to reset a badly formed track).
  • POLYGON OBJECTS – Regular polygon controls are available through the Object Inspector’s Features pane. Note that handles on the object are direct controls to manipulate the shape or rotate directly.
  • POINT SYMBOLS – Use the Object Inspector’s Features pane to scale point symbols. Data Transformers can be applied to symbols for dynamic symbols based on attributes (for example, sized or colored based on the information those symbols represent).
  • IMAGE OBJECTS – Sometimes the easiest way to start making your map will be to begin by tracing over an existing map or aerial photograph. But usually the saturation and color in the photo makes it hard to see your drawing objects. Place the image on a layer and use the Geometry panel in the Sidebar, or the Object Inspector’s Features pane to adjust the image opacity – creating a “tracing paper” effect. Move that layer to the bottom of the layer stacking order. Now in your drawing layers, start building your map.