I'm working on a small-scale site survey in qGIS, and for engineering purposes I need to print physical copies of the map that can be used with an engineering ruler.

Basically, I need a way to print a scale bar that has intervals that will actually be 1". The map is at 1":500", and I'm using NAD83 CA State Plane V (ft). For the life of me I can't find an option that lets me dictate the size of the scale bar on a paper map. I am printing as a raster, rather than scaling to fit the page, but still no luck.

I'm having the issue that's detailed here but that solution is for ArcMap Layout, and I need to use QGIS Print Composer.

1 Answer 1


In the Units section of the scale bar properties, set it to feet.

Label Unit Multiplier should be set to 0.083333 as well. This is from 1/12.

Label For Units can also be changed to in

Then under the Segments portion set the Fixed Width to however many feet are in 500".

Not sure how precise you need the scale bar units to be, but the calculator from 500/12 = 41.666666666666666666666666666667

So the fixed width would be something in that range, like 41.66667 (rounded).

11 inch scale bar across an 8.5x11" paper

The image above shows 1" increments which are 500" and to test, has 11 1" segments that fit perfectly across an 11" piece of paper.

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