Tutorial

Below are some examples of the available features.

Have a look at Showcase to get an idea of what you can do with MapChart.

If you are a MapChart Plus user, please check the Plus features tutorial.

Creating a map

The most basic steps for creating a map and downloading it:

  1. Paint the countries/states you want with the selected color by clicking on them.
  2. Choose another color from the Select Color palette and repeat the process.
  3. Fill out the legend by choosing a description for each color group.
  4. When ready, select Preview Map.
  5. Hit Download Map to download your map as an image.
Please check the About page on how you can reference MapChart when using your map.

Additional features

Customize your map

  • Right-click on a country/state to:
    • Remove its color.
    • Paint it with an existing color or pattern.
    • Show or hide it.
  • Use Edit and Clear All to review or reset your map.
  • Remove or change the color of the borders.
  • Rearrange the legend's rows using drag and drop.
  • Change the color for all countries in a group by clicking on its color box in the legend.
  • Change the legend's background, font, font color, position, and size.
  • Drag the legend on the map to set its exact position.
  • Hide the legend or only show its title.

Advanced Settings and Shortcuts

  • Hold Control and move your mouse over the map to quickly color several countries. Holding Control + Shift has the opposite result.
  • Use Undo and Redo (Control + Z and Control + Y) to go back and forth in your edit history.
  • Holding Shift and clicking on a country removes its color. You can change this shortcut's action in Step 1 > Advanced....
  • Change the border width for all countries on the map.
  • Change the default gray color for uncolored countries.

Save and load maps

ℹī¸   This is a much easier process if you are a MapChart Plus user. Learn more...

Saving your progress

At any point while you are editing your map, you can save your current map's settings:

  • Click on the blue Save/Upload map configuration button.
  • Select Save map configuration to download a small text (.txt) file on your device with your map's settings.

Loading your saved maps

If you already have saved your progress and downloaded the mapchartSave.txt configuration file, you can resume your map by following these steps:

  • Go to the page of the map you were working on (World, USA, Canada, etc.)
  • Click on the blue Save/Upload map configuration button.
  • In the dialog that appears, you can upload your text file or paste its contents and hit Upload map configuration.
  • You can then continue working on your map.

Autosave

Autosave happens at specific points during the map-making process, like when adding a color, clearing the map, downloading it, etc. There is one autosave kept for each page on the website, stored locally in your browser's cache.

You can find the latest autosave for the current page, by clicking on the blue Save/Upload map configuration button and navigating to the Autosave tab.

Move your maps from the website into the app or the opposite

You can also move your map settings from the website to the mobile app and vice versa. Find a relevant tutorial on the blog.

Zoom in/out of the map

Most maps provide a zoom tool that lets you zoom in/out of your map and focus on the countries/states you need.

  • Click on Zoom Mode at the left edge of the map to enable zooming and panning on the map.
  • Use Exit Zoom to stop the process and fix the map in its place.
  • With Reset Zoom you can revert the map to its original zoom level.

Using patterns

Creating patterns (stripes, dots, etc.)

Go to Select color > More patterns to create a pattern to paint with.

  • Select the pattern's background and foreground colors and its type (stripes, dots, crosshatch, checkers, etc.).
  • Useful for depicting a country that belongs simultaneously in two color groups or for black-and-white only maps.
  • Right-click and Remove Pattern to revert the country to its background color.
  • Right-click and Copy Existing Color/Pattern to paint the country with an already existing pattern.

Scaling and nonscaling patterns

  • When you color a country with a pattern, the pattern gets scaled (resized) to fit its size by default.
  • You can change this to use nonscaling patterns that look the same on all countries (right-click on a country and check the Do not scale patterns checkbox).
  • Learn more about this difference on the map page (right-click on a country and click the What's the difference? button) or in this blog post.
  • Switch this setting on/off as many times as you need to see the difference live on your map.

Use Excel to speed up the map creation process for the largest maps

Take advantage of the Excel MapChart Configuration Export tool to create a config file (.txt) that you can use to quickly color the subdivisions of specific maps.