Exporting Your Map

Your drawing files can be exported to PDF, TIFF, JPEG and PNG file formats. PDF is a vector file format created by Adobe Systems and is the native file format for Adobe Illustrator(TM) – except with a different file extension (AI). Drawings exported as PDF are saved as vector files and can be opened and edited by other vector editing software, such as Adobe Illustrator (TM).

Export your entire drawing, or limit the export to the objects you have selected in your drawing by choosing “Selection only.”

File format-specific options are available, as well as the option to include the graph paper grid in your export.

To Export Raster and Vector File Formats:

  1. Choose File > Export… from the main menu.
  2. Type a name for the exported file and select a document location for it to be saved.
  3. As needed, click the “Expand’ triangle button to view the full export dialog.
  4. As desired, edit the following settings:
  • FORMAT – Choose the export file format from the drop-down menu.
  • RESOLUTION – Choose the export resolution from the drop-down menu.
  • SCALE – Optionally, change the scale of the export by typing a new percent scale. For example, to double the size of the exported drawing, change the scaling factor to 200%. This effectively allows any desired resolution or image size to be exported from your vector drawings.
  • GRAPH PAPER – Optionally, check the box to include the graph paper layer (otherwise it will not export, even if it is visible in your drawing).
  • TRANSPARENT BACKGROUND – For supported file types (TIFF and PNG), optionally check the box to make the background of the drawing transparent in the exported image (unless the drawing has a background fill). PDF automatically preserves background transparencies.

5. Click the ‘Export’ button.

HINT: Your export settings will be remembered each time you export.

To Export Selected Objects Only:

When you have one or more objects selected in your drawing, the “Selection Only” option is available from the export menu. When checked, only the selected objects are exported using the designated file format and settings.

HINT: Selected objects must be within the same layer.

Exporting for Print and Web:

For best results, consider your purpose and what format you will need during drawing setup. On any given project, determining from the beginning what file format is required is a best practice – particularly if you have publication standards that must be met! In the most general terms, static web graphics require a 72 dpi resolution and will typically use JPEG or PNG formats. Printing for publication typically requires 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution.

The file formats TIFF, JPEG, and PNG output raster-based graphics files. In general, JPEG and PNG files are useful for making a web images or graphics not intended for printing. For drawings that are primarily represented with vector graphics, PNG will typically give crisper results. ‘PNG’ stands for Portable Network Graphics format, a format for storing bitmapped (raster) images. Interlaced PNG files, though slightly larger file size than non-interlaced, can improve display times on slow (modem) Internet connections – perhaps less of an issue than in the old days. ‘JPEG’ stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group; it’s great for photographs but not really intended for representing vector graphics, thus is recommended when an image (such as a photograph) is the background of your drawing. ‘TIFF’ stands for Tagged Image File Format and is widely supported by image-manipulation applications, by publishing, and page layout applications. TIFF alpha transparency is a supported export option.

Apple’s Preview(TM) application is an excellent tool for viewing and adjusting exported graphics (and is a free application included with the OS). Several functions are available, such as clipping images, adjusting size, and matching image color profiles. A note about viewing exported graphics in Preview: The default preferences for images is to scale them to fit the document window. To view images at their actual size, set the Preview > Preferences > Images to actual size and to respect the image and screen DPI for scale.

To Export to PDF:


‘PDF’ stands for Portable Document Format and is the only export format that produces editable vector-based graphics. Drawings exported to PDF format retain their vector properties and are therefore scalable without loss in resolution. If your drawing will be enlarged or reduced for publication, PDF is our recommended export format. PDF is also a good choice for creating a zoomable image, and for example to view with Adobe Reader(TM) or Apple Preview(TM).

Exported PDF graphics naturally preserve their background transparency. Like other graphic formats, PDFs can be placed as graphics into other software programs, such as Microsoft Word(TM) and Apple Pages(TM), and will respect image wrapping settings. PDF graphics may also be placed into your drawings. For example, use the Image Browser to place a PDF graphic created in one drawing file, into another drawing file. Because it is vector-based, the graphic will scale without loss of resolution in your new document (though PDF files cannot be edited).

HINT: When copying a graphic to open or paste into other software, the image-PDF file format is the system default.

To Use Exported PDF Files with Other Vector Editing Programs:


Exported vector PDF files can be edited in other vector drawing software that are enabled to edit PDF, such as Adobe Illustrator(TM). This example shows a drawing that was exported as a PDF file. When opened in Adobe Illustrator, each object is an editable vector graphic, represented here on individual layers.

Note, PDF is a file format created by Adobe Systems and is the native file format for Adobe Illustrator(TM) – except with a different file extension (AI). As needed, you can change the file extension from .pdf to .ai without affecting the file contents.

To Share Your Drawing:


Click the Share icon in the toolbar to share a JPEG version of your drawing with others via Email, Message, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

HINT: Accounts must be configured to enable sharing. File sharing must be enabled via Apple > System Preferences > Sharing…
HINT: In Mail, you can change the size to small, medium or large.