Waiting for QGIS 2.2 – Composer Improvements (part 2)

Following on from Part 1, here’s some more recent usability improvements which have been made to QGIS’ map composer:

  • Multiple items can now be selected by drawing a box around them. Holding Shift while drawing a box adds to the current selection, holding Ctrl will subtract from the current selection. In addition, holding Alt while drawing the selection box changes from an “intersects” style selection mode to a “within” selection mode. This was my major frustration with the composer in earlier versions of QGIS, and combined with the earlier fixes for multi-item drag and resize it substantially improves the design workflow.
Selecting multiple items with a mouse drag
Selecting multiple items with a mouse drag
  • Grid lines are always drawn on top of compositions
  • There’s new menu options for showing the grid and snapping to grid, and for showing/snapping/smart guides. All these have convenient keyboard shortcuts so you can quickly switch on or off display of the guides and grid or temporarily switch on or off snapping while you work. There’s also a new menu item for clearing all guides from a composition.
Grid and guide controls in the view menu
Grid and guide controls in the view menu
  • The composer window now has a status bar which shows the exact cursor position and details about resizing/moving items
The new composer status bar
The new composer status bar
  • A new mouse-based zoom tool has been added to the composer, which allows you to click and drag to specify an area to zoom to. You can also switch to this new tool at any time by holding Ctrl and space. Holding Shift while using the zoom tool switches to zooming out.

That’s it for now, but there’s loads more to come for 2.2!

5 thoughts on “Waiting for QGIS 2.2 – Composer Improvements (part 2)

  1. Hi Nyall,

    Thanks again for the continuous improvements.

    I noticed that the two new icons for “zoom rectangle” and “pan composer” are not in the same toolbar location as the “zoom full”, “zoom in” and “zoom out” buttons.

    Wouldn’t it be better to have all the navigation control buttons next to each other, separated by separators?

    1. I do need to reorganise this a bit. I think it makes sense for all the tool commands (basically anything which changes the mouse behaviour) to be grouped together. This includes the pan and zoom tools, select and move item content tools, and all the add item type tools. This is pretty standard behaviour across most packages.

  2. Hi Nyall,

    Makes sense. But still I think there would be the option to organize all the navigation buttons next to each other. We could just place the “composer item actions” toolbar to the right of the “paper navigation” toolbar.

    Maybe we can get rid of the “refresh” button in the “paper navigation” toolbar? Is this really needed? I don’t know any graphics software that needs a “refresh”. A software that needs a manual refresh is broken in my opinion.

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