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6,129 post(s)
#10-Feb-20 13:05

Visit the videos gallery for a new video providing a quick guide to Legends, a feature so new it is not yet in the user manual. The video provides a quick tutorial to creating legends in layouts, with advice on how to handle quirks in the initial implementation. This allows intrepid early adopters to take advantage of legends right now, and to provide feedback to help guide and prioritize the many GUI enhancements for legends now in production.

Mike Pelletier

1,770 post(s)
#10-Feb-20 16:37

Videos are great way to kick start new features like this. Thanks for adding legends and here are some comments.

1. Remove the Update Record requirement.

2. It would be great if you could select many items and resize them all at once.

3. If possible add a means to add/delete items and have the stack of layers move accordingly rather than having to do it manually.

4. Perhaps #3 requires a more dynamic legend capability. That would certainly be the best in the long-term.

5. Transparent vector layers have a look that varies with what is under them. It would be nice if there was a handy screen capture tool within the software that allows the user to grab a sample from the map and quickly use it in the legend.

6. This is probably more the for the style pane, but need a better way to add text like high, medium, and low in place of values in thematic styling.

HMS97 post(s)
#10-Feb-20 17:20

I pretty much follow what Mike states above. In an earlier suggestion submitted to among other topics I mentioned the following regarding legends:

"As far as legends go, there are definitely upsides to the current legend tool, specially in what concerns to moving and resizing different frames (color / area / line / point), adding multi-line text (a strong positive leap from Manifold 8) or adding independent frame elements to a layout. Nevertheless, these are smalls steps in what I consider, as it stands, a limited approach to layouts. As far as legends go, in order to make them workable in a professional way, I would suggest the following notes:

1. Dynamic legends: legends should be dynamic with an editable and direct relation to the layers featured in the map. This way (like in Manifold 8) it would be allowed to turn layers on/off without loosing the relation to the featured elements (or having to create a new legend from scratch);

2. Element style: more styles for representing areas are needed. Having only one way to represent an area (like it happens with the triangle), is very limited and, actually, a regression when considering what Manifold 8 offers;

3. Layers pane: using the layers pane to manage legends seems great, but I wonder if this could be further developed and introduce further options in this same pane?

These could be different styles to show areas (box, ramp, elipse, triangle, etc.) addressing also the topic I mentioned before, or even controlling the text type for one legend category in just one click, instead of having to edit each frame individually. Right now having to edit all the frames independently (perhaps I'm missing something in this regard) only adds up more time to tasks that in Manifold 8 take only two or three clicks to complete (and, again, without excelling in this capacity);

4. Group/ungroup/align: regarding the present legend format, another way to develop the present options could be a way to group/ungroup/align different elements in the legend/layout allowing to move them all at once;

5. Applying legends to the map view: when working with many different layers and, for instance, having to make a quick print to show to clients, the ability to make a legend visible in the map view was crucial. Making a layout, adding a legend from scratch and still having to edit all the individualized elements adds up far more steps than just one click in "View > Legend" in Manifold 8 and a quick "print-screen";

6. Legend menu option: accessing legends in the “view” sub-sub-menu doesn't seem to be the more natural (and fast) way to access this option. In an inevitable comparison, in Manifold 8 accessing this option implied one click less."


6,129 post(s)
#10-Feb-20 18:07

Great ideas from both Mike and HMS. Mike's 1,2,3,4 and 6 are in progress. Don't know about 5, but it's an interesting idea.

Regarding HMS's notes:

1. Dynamic legends: legends should be dynamic with an editable and direct relation to the layers featured in the map.

For sure. Legends for now are static in that once created you can edit the samples and such but if you change them in the originating component they don't get updated. That's easy enough to add, I think, since all of that is exposed and easy to get to.

2. Underway.

3. Yes, also underway, especially the ability to edit all together at once.

4. You can do that now using folders. Align is planned as well.

5. This has more to do with easy of use and how automatic the process of legend creating is. If creating an acceptable legend is a one-click deal, well, then that's easy to do in the layout too. See what you like in the map and do a print preview, click one button and you have your view to show the client. Even better, you can print it as a PDF.

6. Don't quite follow: do you mean there should be a View - Legend menu?

HMS97 post(s)
#10-Feb-20 19:38

Hi Dimitri, thanks for taking in consideration these suggestions. Regarding number 6, yes, that's what I wanted to express. Probably it's just a matter of personal taste, but given its significance in the layout context, I wonder if a simple entrance called "Legend" instead of "Mode "wouldn't be more obvious to acess legends in the layout?

Regarding 5, my concern is just to be able to produce a very informal quick output to show some aspect of a given analysis. In Manifold 8 I can do that in just two clicks (1-View - Legend and 2-Show legend) and a quick print screen. Of course I can also make a pdf from a layout, but that implies a few more clicks (for instance, choosing printer, paper size, applying scale through a stored view, and then export). The option to show legends in a map (or drawing) enables this quick output. If legends are specific to layouts, than the only way around is to make a layout (a not so fast approach as the example I had in mind, implying a few more clicks). This way I believe that a way to show legends on a map or drawing is definitely an advantage.


6,129 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 07:11

Of course I can also make a pdf from a layout, but that implies a few more clicks (for instance, choosing printer, paper size, applying scale through a stored view, and then export). The option to show

It's easier than that in 9. Look at what you are doing in map view however you like, that is, panning and zooming to the view you want. Press File - Print Preview. That pops open a layout with that view. Add a legend (same step either way) and press Print, choosing the Microsoft Print to PDF. You only set default "printer" settings once, and then you don't have to touch them.

You also get full, very high resolution with vector objects in PDF, including things like the legend, which is great for scaling and viewing in many different settings. In contrast, when you do a Print Screen to grab a screen shot that tends to look good only at the original resolution. You also have to edit the Print Screen image with a graphics editor (!) to get rid of surrounding Windows frames, desktop, toolbars, etc.

HMS97 post(s)
#12-Feb-20 21:34

Indeed that's another nice approach to a quick layout with more definition. Thanks for the tip. As a side note, since the release of a major windows 10 update a few months ago, the screenshot tool (win+shift+s) is very handy to avoid extra graphic editing.

On this same topic of fast layouts , is there a present way to apply a location to a map in a layout (considering that usually we can have more than one frame in one layout)?


9,344 post(s)
#12-Feb-20 22:28

As a side note, since the release of a major windows 10 update a few months ago, the screenshot tool (win+shift+s) is very handy to avoid extra graphic editing.

Thanks! I hadn't caught up with that. Works very well!

In return, I wonder how many people use Windows key + V to access clipboard history. Just text, but very helpful.

Settings > System


        +Clipboard history


6,129 post(s)
#13-Feb-20 02:34

is there a present way to apply a location to a map in a layout (considering that usually we can have more than one frame in one layout)?

Not yet. I've suggested it, as noted in a post lower in this thread (just used Tim's tip about Win+V to paste that link... Thanks, Tim!).

HMS97 post(s)
#13-Feb-20 13:16

Thanks for the answer Dimitri and thanks Tim for the great tip to access clipboard history. Also, after reading more carefully this thread I also noticed that Adam already mentioned the win+shift+s trick. With threads getting bigger (which is definitley a plus side with all the useful shared info), sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the answers.

Mike Pelletier

1,770 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 15:28

Don't know about 5, but it's an interesting idea.

The thinking is that a transparent vector layer over a terrain has a varied look depending on the location. Best to let the user find the most representative sample for the legend. Sort of like the color picker tool, but instead it is picking a sample rectangle for the legend.

Perhaps this is something incorporated into a larger tool for making screen grabs. Maybe there's a better way to deal with the issue altogether?


9,321 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 15:41

There is a screen snipping tool in Windows 10, but the whole process of getting a visual sample into a layout is currently pretty involved - Win-Shift-S to invoke the snipping tool, select the area to snip, save the result as PNG, import the PNG into 9, drop the resulting image into the layout, then reposition it.

This seems awfully long, we can make it better in many ways, but maybe the snipping tool can still play a part because it has various options and people get used to such tools and develop preferences (and using the same tool to capture all screens no matter the purpose is a big plus). Eg, maybe the sequence could be this: invoke the snipping tool, select the area to snip, copy the result into the clipboard, *paste the contents of the clipboard as an image into 9* (don't have this now), drop the image into the layout, etc. Or, further, *paste the contents of the clipboard into the layout* creating an image and automatically inserting it into the layout.

175 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 18:39

How about when you want to invoke the ability to show that transparent vector layer as it looks with lets say hill shading underneath, when building the legend you can a selector box in Manifold in the map tab, that allows you to just sample the user selected location and that piece of geography is always the piece of geography used to show the layer in the legend for what that transparent layer looks like against the hill shading or whatever else is underneath it. It really should be just the visual fusion of that transparent layer with the underlying opaque layer but use that piece of geography in the selection box. Snipping or using any number of other screen capture tools is ok for a static legend but not a dynamic legend. I guess it depends on how much fiddling the person in Manifold wants to do with their legend every time they change the thematic of the transparent layer in question.

Mike Pelletier

1,770 post(s)
#12-Feb-20 03:41

That seems like a really elegant solution. Might be handy to also tie a selector box to some text rather to an actual layer. Perhaps have several layers in the box and call it something.

If that isn't possible, maybe take Adam's thoughts one step further and use the Sinipping Tool and copy/paste directly into the legend tool so that the image adjusts with the rest of the legend like any other layer.


6,129 post(s)
#12-Feb-20 05:24

Might be handy to also tie a selector box to some text rather to an actual layer.

I'd tie it to a Location. You can have entities in a location, which say which component is the context component for that location if no other context applies. The Location tells you the center and the zoom level - that plus the entity is all you need to grab the visuals you want.

To specify, create the location and then in the layout's legend frame, drag and drop the location into the sample box for background.

But that's assuming a lot of machinery to be added to legends in layouts and yet more things to learn to use the legend. For now, legends in layouts are static and do not automatically update themselves if you change symbology, etc. There are good arguments on both sides for keeping them simple and static vs. opening up dynamic changes as it seems would be necessary for dynamic legends in maps.

I'd put the priority on polishing legends in the layout, focusing on making it quick and as darned near automatic as possible to create a reasonable legend. That's underway. Let's make legends in layouts as simple and as fast to create and alter as diligent focus on tuning and quality of life in the next couple of weeks can get them. We'll then have a fine, very usable tool for presentation in layouts.

If the tool works the way we want, if something changes in the map that you want updated in the legend it will be quick to change it, or even with a few clicks rebuild it. If that's not so easy to do that it's no worry, then the ease of use in the legend in layouts has to be improved.

After that we can look at cool things to do for dynamic legends destined for maps / layers pane / web presentations / etc.. Part of that no doubt will be to take something done dynamically and cast it to a Legend for a layout.


9,321 post(s)
#12-Feb-20 07:27

If we want to show a real piece of a map in a legend, we can just use a small component frame + text. I mean, sure, we can let a sample frame show a map, but the more up-to-date / live / whatever the map sample has to be, the more it looks like just a component frame.


6,129 post(s)
#12-Feb-20 08:35

Very true - simple and elegant. To close the loop it would be good to add the Locations button to the toolbar, enabled when a frame is double-clicked to put it into pan/zoom mode. That would make it easier to pan/zoom a small frame that was used to show a portion of a map, as a background sample.

Mike Pelletier

1,770 post(s)
#12-Feb-20 13:43

Nice to see the current infrastructure provide the solution. That all sounds great including the desire to put other things a bit ahead of dynamic legends.

175 post(s)
#10-Feb-20 20:44

Is it just me or would it be really cool to have an undockable legend which looks the same way as the legend in the layout, but can be undocked and floating when the person is looking at the map tab? Then when you're in the layout you add that legend to the the map, like you do anything else in the project pane. This way the user has a legend that is always up regardless of what other panes they're using. As you change your legend in the floating or dockable pane it updates in the layout or vice versa?


9,321 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 07:40

You can undock windows right now and we will likely allow setting the size of a layout to the extents of the frames (a layout does not have to be tied to a page size). So, what you suggest will become possible. But without updates - we will likely have a different type of legends for that, see a different post of mine in this thread.


9,344 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 00:51

Very useful video. Straightforward and honest. Thanks.

What I am looking for in a legend is something dynamic that works with a map, on screen.

Some of this is need, some is nice to have.

Need, for example, is a direct indication of what the formatting for a raster (or vector) layer means. Unpacking the visual classification (Style). In the map, and live. Essential.

Nice to have would be (the equivalent of) ViewBots, where I can specify an expression, with its result likewise shown in the legend.

Really useful stuff.

Print is not dead... indeed it has a long history of not being dead. Instead it has moved towards 3D or 2.5D (another story).

But for 2D page space, a dedicated tool like Adobe Illustrator is always going to be superior, the tool of choice for anyone serious. Manifold could invest 10 years or so in getting somewhat close, but that would be a waste of Manifold's talents. That is not what the world needs.

It would be a categorical mistake for Manifold to deliberately invest a lot of muck and goo into making page space work in a somewhat-kind-of-slightly-good way. Not least because you are not cartographers or print designers. You are immensely inventive, revolutionary programmers. Thank God.

As far as Manifold and its users are concerned, onscreen data is primary now, and will remain so.

This is only more true given the advent of Manifold Viewer. (A good thing of course. We can say to absolutely anyone: Look here.)

Therefore please can we have dynamic legends bound to maps as the first priority?

Going at it slightly sideways:

Who currently has a desktop printer that they actually like? (OK, I do. It is about 15 years old I think. It creaks a bit but works, and is A3. I won't be replacing it, because I can't. I use it sometimes.)

More importantly, who knows a professional print environment that they could ever hope to control from Manifold or with Manifold settings? With colour profiles, proofing, trapping, overprint, black point, everything that actually matters for professional print?

On the other hand we all have screens, and all our clients do too. Let's focus on that?

Mike Pelletier

1,770 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 03:23

With colour profiles, proofing, trapping, overprint, black point, everything that actually matters for professional print?

Agreed we don't need these, but things like the new style pane in Mfd9 are so welcome. I hope Mfd allows us to tweak the map in awesome ways and then send it off to a professional print guy to do the final touch ups if it is to become a printed work of art. Cartography adds such a nice twist to all the data work :-) Yes on dynamic legends.


9,344 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 03:36

Agreed we don't need these...

We do need these (or most of them), for any decent print. But not within Manifold. That was my point.

I think Manifold should drop page space altogether, and concentrate on making screen space really powerful.

That is where legends should be focussed. On the screen. Dynamic.

Mike Pelletier

1,770 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 14:23

Was trying to say we don't need these in Mfd :-) Also agree with Dimitri in that us non-professional carto folks can do awesome work. Add good labeling and a few more housekeeping items, then Mfd9 is off to the races.


6,129 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 07:45

I hope Mfd allows us to tweak the map in awesome ways and then send it off to a professional print guy to do the final touch ups if it is to become a printed work of art.

Don't "make the perfect be the enemy of the good." For those who haven't heard that expression before, it means don't let a quest for perfection in minutia stop you from using what is already at hand to create absolutely stunning presentations.

Earlier this year I created a series of printed works, all showing the same region (Montara Mountain, of course), with each styled with different palettes / thematic formatting, for a friend's office. I used 9 and a Canon inkjet printer, printing on photo paper, of course.

He had them framed with a nice surrounding matte and hung as a series on the same wall. The results are spectacular. He likes them a lot, and says the only problem with them is that whenever he has visitors they all want to talk about the framed images, so they're somewhat of a distraction. They're definitely printed works of art.

I don't in any way discount the value of either cartographic expertise, or of enhanced facilities to provide graphics editing effects that allow someone with refined taste and experience to tweak a presentation and make it genuinely better as a visual expression. All for that, no problem.

But in no way does that mean ordinary folks like us cannot accomplish really super results with the tools we have. If anything, one advantage of the speed of Manifold - which is far, far faster than Illustrator with many vectors - is that we can hack at a task through trial and error many times to get the effect we want.

When professionals go to work on a task it's true they don't need as much trial and error as amateurs, but they usually do need a few iterations, and given the slowness of the tools and the cost of their billable hours to the client, they may have to limit how much tinker time they apply.

Illustrator, by the way, is truly, awfully, unusably slow with many vector objects, so there's a ceiling to using it beyond which it is too painful to go.


6,129 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 07:25

I don't think anybody at Manifold has anything against doing legends as a floating pane in Maps. Same with North arrows and scale bars and other accessories, such as graticules and grids. That will all happen.

But why legends in layouts first? Because many people use layouts as their means of reporting, both online and in print. Very, very many people do print output, and even more people use PDF as a online publishing format. They don't expect most people to actually print the PDF, but they are using PDF as a de facto universal format for publishing information to be viewed across a very wide range of screen-based display gadgets: smartphones, tablets, notebook computers, desktop computers, etc.

As to legends in maps, there is a fork in that road. One path is a general report of how the many layers that might be seen on line are styled, so at a glance you can see what all the colors and symbols mean. Arc and Q use a classic hierarchy diagram with color / style samples to convey that.

The other path is a classic print-style legend, for those who want to publish by using a screen shot. That has advantages and disadvantages, but what you can do with that you generally can do with a layout (while the reverse is not true).

The non-negotiable need for a "classic" legend floating in a map I think arises when Manifold issues Internet Map Server capability within 9. At that time you'll want a compositional tool that makes it as easy as possible to take a project as it is, save the project, and bang! instantly it works within the web server to create a reasonable web page. A "classic" style legend has to be a part of that somewhere.

For general purpose, whipping up a web page instantly, it's not clear if you can just say, "well, whatever you're looking at in the map right now, let's just use that..." I don't know if making it fast and easy and also supporting slightly more custom desires would require introducing a third dialog, like a Web Layout for web page space (in addition to Maps for traditional endless screen space, and Layouts for paper space).

But that's a different conversation, beyond a discussion of how the initial look at legends in 170.4 should be improved. For that, a focus on what the next ten details should be would be the most helpful.

197 post(s)
#13-Feb-20 23:57

Shockingly (and pleasantly) I find myself agreeing with tjhb :). For me it is much more important to see a dynamic legend on screen. I find myself needing that especially when looking at a complex map with lots of layers.

On a personal note. I have pretty much never used the layout features of Manifold (actually I did once about 10 years ago but just to try them out). For most reporting needs I will take screen shots (or snips) of Manifold and put them into PowerPoint. Not saying that advanced cartographic and presentation capabilities might not be important for others, just that it has not been very important for me. I would think though that a dynamic "on screen" legend would be important for pretty much everyone.


9,321 post(s)
#11-Feb-20 07:37

Thanks for all the great notes!

A quick comment right away - there is a lot of thrust towards making legends be more dynamic, update themselves automatically after changes to formatting, be there when you are working with your map in a map window, etc, etc, etc. We agree that we need to have all this and what we will probably do is add legends to the Layers pane. Some suggested as much.

We did not yet fully flesh out how these dynamic legends should work. There are several key details which can be resolved differently and we didn't yet decide on how exactly to resolve them. But what is absolutely clear is that these dynamic legends will be pretty different from legends in the layouts that we have added.

Just in case, this is not a request to stop discussing legends in maps and concentrate on discussing legends in layouts - let's talk about both! I just thought it might be helpful to say that we think these two legends are going to be different.

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