I prepared a map in the Print Composer of QGIS. The scale of the map is 1:150,000,000. I imported the Thunderforest Pioneer base layer. At the scale I used, country labels do not show when working on the map in Print Composer.

When I export the map as a PDF, png or svg, the country labels now appear. I do not want them to. How can I export the map as is being displayed in Print Composer. The basemap does not have an option to modify the labels.

Here's a screen shot of what I see in Print Composer:

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Note that I locked the layers and locked the layer style.

Here's a screen shot of what I see in the PDF export:

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Here's a PDF of what I see when I right click on the base layer and select properties:

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2 Answers 2


This is a common problem with tile layers in the print composer. The print composer tries to grab a higher resolution for better printing quality, however this is from different tile zoom level, delivering a different set of labels as well.

You can make a screenshot with Save as Image, and load that instead of the tile layer to your canvas. But you will get a pixelated print output.

The only way to avoid this is to create your own basemap from vector data. Natural Earth has good data from the whole world for making just overviews.

  • Another work-around is to define your own GDAL tile server xml definitions: konstantingreger.net/using-map-tile-servers-in-qgis-2-4 This will allow you to set minimum/maximum zoom levels for tile layers. Jun 14, 2016 at 8:43
  • This should be possible with the TileLayer plugin as well, but you might get a pixelated background as well.
    – AndreJ
    Jun 14, 2016 at 9:23

You can also just set the maximum zoom level for the XYZ source:

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To a smaller value. You have to try and experiment to find what is correct for the print you need. For topographic maps in 1:25000 scale I set OSM max zoom levels to 16 and that delivers the output I want (and expect).

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