Subscribe to this thread
Home - General / All posts - Editing line size in M9
226 post(s)
#16-Aug-18 04:41

Still learning the basics of M9 and am stuck on something real basic - I can't change the thickness of the outline of an area in a drawing (or the thickness of a line). I have created a map using Bing image server - satellite imagery layer and a drawing layer (right click in project pain, create drawing - drag into map - creat drawing - save changes - click on drawing in project pane - style - drawing - size). I have read the manual on drawings, editing drawings, lines points and can't find anything else to read (also looked at the examples). I can change the border colour and the fill colour, I can also add points and change their size etc but I can't change the thickness of the border line on the drawing (or the thickness of a line if I add one). When I click on the size in the style drawing tab the menu drops down and I select another size, the drawing flashes as though it has been applied but the line size does not change. Can someone tell me where I need to look to solve the problem please?



5,460 post(s)
#16-Aug-18 05:49

1. Read the Style: Drawings topic.

2. Read the Example: Formatting Tricks topic.

Those should do the trick.

Ah.. one more thing: The Style panel works on whatever drawing or drawing tab has the focus. Suppose you have a map with multiple drawings and thus multiple tabs. The darkened tab is the active tab, the one that has the focus.

Suppose one of the tabs has areas in it and the other has lines in it. Let's say you want to change the style of lines in the tabs that has lines in it, but instead of clicking that tab to make it the active tab you've simply left the areas tab as the active tab, perhaps as a result of previously doing some work in that layer.

Whatever you now do with the Style panel will apply to the drawing that has the focus, that is, the drawing for the areas tab. You can go ahead and change style for lines, such as color and size, in that drawing even though there are not (as yet) any lines in it. That is a good thing, because it allows you to set up style in a drawing for when you will add lines or points to it. (People often will copy style from one drawing and paste it into another drawing that is, as yet, blank, because they want both drawings to have exactly the same styles for areas, lines and points.)

But in this case if you've told the system to apply that style to a drawing/tab which is different than the one to which you really wanted it applied, well, you won't see any changes to the drawing that you wanted to alter.

If you change style and nothing happens in the drawing you thought should be affected, check the simple stuff: does that drawing/tab have the focus, or are you changing Style in some other drawing/tab?

Another simple error: you're working in the intended drawing, but a layer above that drawing is opaque or has objects that overlap or coincide with objects in the layer below, so they hide the changes being made in the layer below.


8,771 post(s)
#16-Aug-18 07:48

It's also worth pointing out that you can't format the borders of areas in 9. That will no doubt be fixed.

All you can do for now is to work around the oversight by using extra lines.

532 post(s)
#16-Aug-18 18:15

All you can do for now is to work around the oversight by using extra lines.

Thanks Tim, that gave me the idea to add one more step to my process to be able to style area borders.

My process to create the effect of styled borders for areas is to put the focus on the area drawing then I click Contents > Transform > Convert to Line. I choose "Add Component" otherwise the alternative of "Update Field" replaces my areas with lines. I add the new line drawing to my map and I can now style the line drawing to create the effect of formatting the borders of areas. The minor downside is now I have another component with a similar name to manage in the map.

Based on your tip I copied the lines from the new line drawing and pasted them back into the area drawing. This does the job, I can delete the temporary line drawing and the original area drawing now has lines which I can Style. Screenshot attached. Thanks, that cleans things up.

Dimitri, any thoughts on a third Transform option? Currently for Convert to Line we have "Update Field" and "Add Component". What about "Add to Component" (or some better less ambiguous wording) where in my case, the lines (to be the borders) are added to the area drawing which has the focus? This would eliminate the steps to change focus to the new line drawing, select all, copy, change focus to the area drawing, paste. Then delete the the line drawing which I no longer need. "Add to Component" would eliminate 6 steps for me.

It's great that Manifold has the ability to have lines, areas and points in the same drawing.

Lines added to area drawing.JPG


5,460 post(s)
#16-Aug-18 18:50

Dimitri, any thoughts on a third Transform option?

Not at all necessary if you follow the procedure in the Example: Formatting Trickstopic. Send the new geom you create in a single step to whatever field you want by choosing it as the target. The exact same transform template and action button works fine.

I get the impression you haven't read that topic or used the procedure there. At the risk of spoiling all the fun, it is in the "multiple drawings from the same table" section. :-)

The point of doing it the way recommended in that example topic is you have one set of drawings in one table. That one drawing has two geom fields for the same object. One has the geometry of the object as an area, and the other has the geometry of that same object as a boundary line. Select that one object, either by selecting the line or the area, and you automatically select the other as well because it is the same object, even thought it may be seen in a different drawing (like a "theme").

There is a related example in the Example: Multiple Drawings from the Same Table topic, where the same technique is used to give borders to street lines. The technique provides better definition for lines against "difficult" backgrounds, as seen in the top illustration in the FAQ web page.

Copying lines from another drawing and pasting them into the area is creating twice as many objects. That's much messier for things like selection, leveraging attributes, etc., and is not using the strength of what the system can do for you. You also cannot control Z order as you might want to do for a variety of effects.

Tim, of course, is right that ideally it would be best to just be able to style the borders of areas as you like. That's bound up in richer cartographic styling of area objects, since you want to do more than just thicker or thinner borders. It's nice to have, for example, area borders with gradient shading bleeding inward from the border toward the center of the area.

532 post(s)
#16-Aug-18 19:57

multiple drawings from the same table" section

I see it there now, it just didn't click that was what "multiple drawings from the same table" meant. I recall now someone suggesting this approach before. I use Manifold intensely for a few days then many months will go by before I need to use it again so the memory muscle disappears or what I picked up is lost in the fog of trying to finish an analysis because the client needs it fast. I'll investigate the possibilities of multiple drawings from the same table, makes sense rather than pasting in essentially duplicate data.


5,460 post(s)
#16-Aug-18 06:06

Yet one more thing... I was puzzled by the difficulty, so I carefully read the Style topic for drawings,

There is a typo there right at the beginning that, somehow, nobody has caught and reported, despite all of the incredibly diligent and attentive reading of such topics every user does. It cites the Size button as being able to change the border line size for areas, which is incorrect: it changes the hatch pattern size for areas. That's corrected in the same paragraph and then made clear with examples later on in the topic, but somebody who read just the first sentence would be led astray or, at least, confused.

I've filed a bug report. One nice thing about having online documentation is that it gets updated very frequently so bugs like that don't hang around long.

164 post(s)
#16-Aug-18 18:46

I had the same concern last March which TAL clarified for me.

I thought I had it working in 9 before but had been doing with 8 and its more comprehensive controls.

226 post(s)
#28-Aug-18 22:02

So from reading all the responses the size button is for the hatching not the border size, Tim has mentioned that the border size can't be changed with the size button and this will no doubt be fixed, is that correct or are the alternative methods discussed here and laid out in the user manual the way this will be dealt with instead? Clicking a button and changing the size seems much easier and logical


8,771 post(s)
#28-Aug-18 22:29

I shouldn't have used the word fix. There's no bug or error, just a feature that is currently missing. Why wasn't it added before now? Dimitri has hinted that there are plans to do something more ambitious than just a border line. Bear in mind also that Adam has noted that they are now going into a series of cutting-edge buils focussed on cartography.


5,460 post(s)
#29-Aug-18 06:22

just a feature that is currently missing. Why wasn't it added before now?

The Suggestions page provides insights into the two most likely answers to the above, perfectly fair, question: a) other features are considered more important and have been done first, and/or b) there is insufficient consensus that is a "feature" which should be added at all, let alone at higher priority than other things.

I personally like the idea of fatter or thinner area border lines even though there are plenty of people who think that is sloppy cartography. It's not a 100% guarantee that everyone will agree just thickening lines is a good thing. In fact, although a nine-word note is enough, "Please add area border line width control to style," most people who comment on such things with suggestions don't write that but instead discuss the more sophisticated case of asymmetric border line styles.

That's what people really want. They don't want an area borderline that is just fatter, the way you can often get away with in the case of a line. They want a border line that is fatter or different color only on one side, such as the inside, so that the cartographic indication of the actual size of the area and what the area covers is not altered. Or, they want that for better cartographic effects, such as gradient inward from the area border, or, in the case of some cartography such as the rendition of islands in seas, a gradient blend outward from the area border.

Even given the adjustment to community driven feedback that the Cutting Edge process allows. I think it important to try to close in as close as possible to what likely be a final approach. That also includes desires such as customization of styles, asymmetric line styles, sufficient facilities to be able to do what people can accomplish with things like SVG, and the ability to do all that with high speed, not slow as is the usual result in other GIS or server settings where very extensible, but highly bureaucratized and gruesomely inefficient, approaches to stylings give wide cartographic variety at the cost of reduced performance. Manifold has to deliver full variety with high speed as well.

Where all that fits in depends on where it makes sense to fit it in, for example, holding off until better innards are available to achieve better and faster rendition on screen and in printed output. As it turns out, as I mentioned in other posts, given the massive progress on innards accomplished these last few months, as Manifold switched gears a bit since the last series of builds all that (custom styles, better cartography, etc.) is now in progress. So far, it seems it will be a good fit to what the community wants in terms of the suggestions received.

Once the cutting edge builds come out we'll see: there will a chance for feedback from a broader audience, to make any adjustments required.

As always, it is never too late to send in Suggestions if anybody has any specific desires in mind.

Manifold User Community Use Agreement Copyright (C) 2007-2017 Manifold Software Limited. All rights reserved.