I want to see which parts of my map I've covered in print layout. In AutoCAD I draw a rectangle to the extents of the viewport and then CHSPACE (which transfers the rectangle to the modelspace scaling accordingly. That way I can see (in the main workspace) what is covered by a print layout and what isn't.

I'm trying to show a route along multiple print layout views (so I can plot at a usable scale). Currently I'm just eyeballing where one print layout frame starts and the preceding one ends.

I've tried google but as you can tell I'm having trouble making it clear what I'm asking.

I'd quite like to crop everything not covered by a print layout. Hopefully it'll speed up the drawing a bit.

Also is there a repository of sample drawing frames/templates? I can't seem to find anything online. Only this: https://github.com/nationalparkservice/nps-qgis-map-templates/blob/master/README.md

  • Have you had a look at the Atlas-feature in the print composer?
    – Erik
    Jul 9, 2019 at 8:36

1 Answer 1


When you have the print layout open, in the main QGIS window go to View > Decorations > Layout Extents. This will show where open print layout extents are.

Also in the Processing Toolbox there is a tool under Cartography called 'Print layout map extent to layer', this will create a polygon layer of the extent.

Unfortunately neither of these work well with Atlas. if you're using Atlas then you'll have to enable it and flick through each page.

  • 1
    Of course if you're using the Atlas, you can see where the atlas features are on your map canvas. If your atlas features don't exactly correspond to the print layout map extent, write a geometry-generated symbology that displays the map extent.
    – csk
    Jul 9, 2019 at 18:27
  • 1
    Not OP, but dang, I've been making maps in qgis for quite a while now and did not know about the Layout Extents decoration - that's fantastic! Thanks!
    – she_weeds
    Jul 18, 2019 at 8:51

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