7.10.3. North arrow, scale bar, legend, title, labels

The final map should provide information about the map scale and orientation and explain the map content. Let’s now add the most common map elements using the QGIS Print Composer:

  1. Open the menu Layout.
  2. Choose Add Image and click somewhere on the map canvas (all items can be moved afterwards). 
  3. Select a north arrow of your choice (within the set of preloaded images).
  4. Now add a scale bar (Layout > Add Scalebar) and click somewhere on the map. A basic scale bar will show up and within the Item Properties the unit label must be defined (e.g. m or meters). There are a lot of other optional settings.
  5. Up to now we have no information about the different map elements shown, so we add a map legend. Go to layout.
  6. Select Add Legend, click somewhere on the map canvas and customize the items listed.
  7. The names of the different layers can be changed in QGIS desktop by a right click to the Map Legend.
  8. Select Rename.
  9. A map needs a title, or sometimes additional labels to explain some features. Go to Layout.
  10. Click Add Label and place it on top of the map. Labels and legend items can be formatted and changed within the Item Properties.
  11. Last but not least, try to also add a grid according to the CRS used (in this case it is metric, CH1903/LV03). Click with the Item selection tool on the map frame and locate within the Item Properties the section Grid.
  12. Activate the checkbox and experiment with the settings below. At the end, the map should look somehow similar to Fig. 122.
  13. Save the template again, and be proud of your first map made with QGIS!

Fig. 122. Final map with title, legend, north arrow, scale and coordinate grid in the QGIS Print Composer.