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I have a problem modifying the map I created in QGIS. I need to add some text on the map and axis labels. Apparently, labels cannot be rotated in qgis, so this I need to do in inkscape or in a related programme.

  • If I export the map as pdf, I cannot adjust the font size for the "tick marks" (lat and long values) according to the guidelines of the journal I want to submit my article to.
  • I discovered the simplesvg tool, which gives a very nice resolution map, but then I don't have the coordinates along the borders of the map (or is there a way with this tool?)

Is there someone that can help me? I'm getting pretty desperate.. :s

Thanks! Ellen

share|improve this question
Are you using Print Composer to create your map? – Willy Oct 20 '12 at 0:06
Ellen, I've made maps using QGIS and loaded the SVG into Inkscape so I could add the labels. It's a bit manual but produces the best results, in my experience. Patty – Patty Jula Oct 22 '12 at 21:12
Hi, if I export the map as an SVG file, it appears really messed up in inkscape (for instance, grid lines are really thick and not in place...) – Ellen Oct 23 '12 at 7:35
In my experience PDF from the Print Composer is the best output format – SVG gives variable results. – Simbamangu Oct 24 '12 at 17:29


QGIS now supports label rotation in the print composer. Simply install a qgis master build (osgeo4w on windows, or using the appropriate repository on ubuntu / debian). The option to rotate a label is located in the label's property sheet:

et voila

share|improve this answer
ok, so this option to rotate labels is not available in the standalone version of QGIS? – Ellen Oct 22 '12 at 9:53
hm, I installed the osgeo4w and ran qgis again, but I still don't see the rotation option... – Ellen Oct 22 '12 at 12:07
@user15930 - see here for instructions on installing master builds; you'll need to have a later version than 1.8. Use osgeo4w in advanced mode. – Simbamangu Oct 22 '12 at 18:08
Pardon my question but where can I find a later version than 1.8? I've looked around, but can't seem to find it. does not contain a later version than 1.8... – Ellen Oct 23 '12 at 7:50

To edit QGIS output in Inkscape (or a similar vector drawing programme), set up the map in a print composer and export it as PDF from there:

  • After you add a map frame to the composer, a grid may be added with appropriate labels in the 'item properties' tab: enter image description here

  • The Composer is probably the best place for you to add your text boxes and the like before export.

  • Export the map as pdf using the Adobe button on the toolbar (fourth from the left).

In Inkscape, you can then open your PDF and add text, rotate individual text labels, and so on. Be aware that you'll need to perform several 'ungroup' operations on each set of drawing objects, starting with the entire document, before you can modify individual text or vector blocks.

Going through the Inkscape tutorials, particularly relating to selecting objects under and near other objects, is invaluable!

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the help! – Ellen Oct 22 '12 at 9:50
@Ellen - no worries, and if one of the answers you got here is what you need, select the check box next to it to accept the answer. – Simbamangu Oct 22 '12 at 11:25
I'm sorry, I've taken a look at several inkscape tutorials, but I can't seem to find how to modify the objects in the pdf generated in QGIS. It remains a un-selectable image...:s – Ellen Oct 22 '12 at 18:26
@Ellen - try the built-in tutorials - Help|Tutorials|Inkscape:Basic is a good starting point. Basically, open your PDF, use the pointer tool to select the object, and right-click and select 'ungroup'. – Simbamangu Oct 24 '12 at 17:25
I know how to ungroup. Strangely, before it didn't work, but now it does! So, hooray!! Thanks for all of your suggestions... – Ellen Oct 27 '12 at 7:18

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