How does one set up print composer to output a real world map paper map that is scaled properly so that a manual (real world) scale rule that one places on a paper map is scaled properly in a scale that is actually used out in the field, i.e. useful scales, such as 1:10000, 1:25000, 1:50000.

Each time I set print composer to these above-mentioned scales, and then print the map as an output, the scales do not correspond to an old fashioned scale rule, which means the map is not useful out in the field. Is there a way to set print composer properly to output a paper map at the right scale.

  • what format has the print composer (din a3/a4) and what format are you printing?
    – LaughU
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 7:46
  • 1
    What is the coordinate reference system of the data? Look for the EPSG code in the lower right corner. It should be a correct projected system, like EPSG:28992 for the Netherlands. If it is WGS 84 / Pseudo Mercator (EPSG:3857) this wont work. Commented May 15, 2018 at 7:46
  • You might have to disable "scale/fit to page" (can't quite remember how the option is called in English) in the printing options of whatever graphics editor/PDF viewer you are using to print the exported map. Also, check if you actually chose a paper size in Composer that your printer can provide.
    – SAnderka
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 7:49
  • Are you talking about your own vector files or about online-tiles like OSM?
    – Miron
    Commented May 15, 2018 at 13:36

1 Answer 1


There are two things you need to check:

  1. The paper size. You have to define the same paper size of your final hard output. I usually produce a pdf rather than printing directly from QGIS. enter image description here

  2. The sacale of the map. Once you have added a map in your composition, you need to define its scale (Map 0 in my case). The scale is related with the pape size you have stated in the step 1. I have added a scale bar, which is linked to Map 0 in this case. You can have more than one map and different scales in a single composition

enter image description here

  • 2
    To this I will add that if you are using QGIS 3, paper size/composition is accesssed by right clicking on the layout and selecting 'Page Properties' - it isn't in the old location.
    – she_weeds
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 11:23
  • @she_weeds feel free to add the screen shots, I do not and I will not have QGIS 3 until it bacame LTR
    – Marco
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 14:07

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