I have a 24" monitor with a resolution of 1920x1080. Mostly I'm working on printable maps in QGIS. The size of some labels is sometimes smaller then 5mm on the final printed map. At my monitor this labels are not readable (as you can (not) see on the screenshot below).

Screenshot from canvas in scale 1:75000:

Screenshot from canvas in scale 1:75000

Is there a (software-)way to enlarge the view on my monitor or do I have to buy a monitor with a better resolution? Which one would you recommend?

  • You can't zoom in and pan for more detail? – Jason Scheirer Nov 15 '14 at 16:33
  • Of course I can, but I would have to change the scale. If I have a map I want to print in 75k, I also have to use the same scale in the canvas. The screenshot is in 75k. – MAP Nov 15 '14 at 17:28
  • I meant zooming and panning on the layout in print composer, leaving the map at the same scale. On trying it, it doesn't appear to update the quality of the map canvas. – Jason Scheirer Nov 15 '14 at 18:00
  • 1
    How about KMag? – nhopton Nov 16 '14 at 12:34
  • Are you defining your font label sizes in 'points' instead of 'map units'? If so, try using 'map units'. – dakcarto Nov 18 '14 at 3:12

What OS are you running? Windows, Mac OS and Linux all have ways of optimizing the display, which can sometimes make a huge difference to text rendering. Your OS will likely have a way of temporarily enlarging the display to view detail. It sure beats using “Zoom Previous” all the time on a complex QGIS map.

If you can borrow or buy a screen calibrator, that can make a helpful difference to screen contrast. Most displays have a very cold blue colour cast, and calibration will pull some extra shades out of the murk.

Update: For Ubuntu:

  • For better text rendering, try Infinality.
  • Compiz has zoom functions under Accessibility; I can never remember where the Compiz Config Manager lives these days, though.
  • For screen colour calibration, I have had great success with a ColorHug.
  • I'm running Ubuntu. – MAP Nov 15 '14 at 17:30
  • I already use the compiz zoom function with my mouse wheel. Its helping but not exactly what Im looking for. – MAP Nov 17 '14 at 7:12

I think, buying big monitors are not a solution for this kind of problem. If you are serious about the quality of printed map I suggest you to use any graphics or design software (ie. Abobe Illustrator). Assign each set of lebels to different layers according to their font size.

Try Avenza's Map Publisher sometime.

  • Just how does using the QGIS Print Composer qualify as not being 'serious' enough about map quality? In order to be serious, one has to buy Adobe software and also purchase a $1,400 (USD) plugin? This in no way helps the poster with their question. I stopped using Avenza's software and became a QGIS developer specifically because you can create serious cartography now in QGIS, which also happens to be a full GIS application. – dakcarto Nov 18 '14 at 3:27
  • The message 'using Ubuntu' wasn't there when I wrote this answer. The question seemed to be inclined towards graphics performance for vector elements and rendering, so I suggested something similar. If it is so, I will suggest Inkscape again if you feel right. :) – Sunbeam Rahman Nov 18 '14 at 6:19

In my opinion no amount of screen calibration will help with this issue.

After some testing, it seems like the only way to see these small labels in more detail before exporting the map is by zooming closer in the Print Composer. Even 1pt sized labels become readable that way.

enter image description here

  • I would like to have the "final view" in the canvas, not just in the print composer where I have to switch to check the result. Something like a scale independent zoom function in the canvas would do the job. – MAP Nov 17 '14 at 7:11
  • That requires at least a feature request and if possible funding. – underdark Nov 17 '14 at 19:35

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