Example: Change Point Style

This example provides a step-by-step, tutorial introduction to using the Style pane to apply color, symbology, size and rotation to points in drawings.  


The topic is long because we go step-by-step; in real life, even a beginner would perform each step in a second or so.    It is a good idea to review the Style: Drawings  topic and the Style: Points topic before proceeding with this example.

Two Examples

Style pane buttons support two ways of making quick changes, which can be mixed together for very fast and convenient workflow:




This topic makes the same changes using both approaches to workflow.

Change Basic Properties

We can change point style properties one property at a time to zero in on the look we want.  



We start with a drawing called Equipment, shown above as a layer in a map, that shows the locations of emergency equipment in a theater.   We will change the default gray dots used to show points in the Equipment layer to more interesting symbols.



With the focus on the Equipment layer in the drawing, we choose the Style pane.   The green box indicates controls for points style in the drawing.  


 To save space in this dialog, only the point controls will be shown in following illustrations, and not the entire Style pane.  Most illustrations also skip showing the drop down menu and pickers that allow us to choose colors or symbols, and instead show the results of what we pick.  

Change Point Symbol


We click the Symbol button for points.   A drop down menu appears:



Hovering over a symbol in the list reports the name of the symbol and the group (Standard, Glyphs, Brands) in a tool tip.  We can scroll through a very long list, perhaps switching to grid view from list view to show more symbols.  If we know the name of the symbol we can enter part of the name into the filter box to show only symbols including those letters.  If we enter fire we see symbols with fire in their names (case not sensitive).   That makes it easier to find the Fire Extinguisher symbol.



When we choose the fire extinguisher symbol it immediately appears in the Symbol button.  It also appears in the Total Style button with all of the other style properties applied, such as the Size of 5 points.    Using a Size of only 5 points causes the symbol to be displayed in the drawing at a too-small size.    



That is much too small, so our next step is to change the Size.  



We click the Size button and choose 36 points from the grid of options that is provided in the drop down menu.  We can specify any size we want in the box shown in the drop down menu, if we prefer.   Immediately, the total Style button shows a preview of the fire extinguisher symbol in 36 point size.  



The drawing also immediately shows the symbol in the new size.    We will now change the stroke and fill colors.



The Stroke color is the main or foreground color, and is often used for outlines, or as the only color in symbols that are composed of only one color.   We click on the Stroke color button and choose a bright red color.   Immediately, the big Style button at left shows the total result of the changes we have made to Symbol, Size, and Stroke color.



The drawing also immediately shows the new Stroke color.   Next, we will change the Fill color.



We click on the Fill color button and choose black.   Immediately, the big Style button at left shows the total result of the changes we have made to Symbol, Size, Stroke color, and Fill color.



The drawing also immediately shows the symbol using the new Fill color.



We click the Rotation button and choose 15 degrees from the grid of typical options that is provided in the drop down menu.  We can specify any rotation angle we want in the box shown in the drop down menu, if we prefer.   Immediately, the total Style button shows a preview of the fire extinguisher symbol rotated to an angle of 15 degrees.



The drawing also immediately shows the symbol rotated to 15 degrees.

Symbol Options

Clicking the Symbol button opens a drop down menu that allows choosing a new point symbol very quickly from over 1300 symbols, using default symbol options.   If desired, we can click the More... button at the bottom of the drop down list to get an expanded Symbol dialog that allows more options.


We click on the Symbol button for points.



At the bottom of the drop down menu we choose More...



That launches the full Symbol dialog for points, which provides more options.  A preview pane at left shows the result of options applied.  We can click on the small box in the upper right corner of the preview pane to change the background color for the preview, if we want.


An upper pane shows a large grid of symbols we can choose.   A lower pane shows extra options that can be applied to the symbol we choose.  Tabs allow us to choose additional options.


The circle/square icon at the upper right corner of the symbols pane allows choosing a font or other collection of symbols.  The Stroke box allows choosing the width of those portions of the symbol drawn in Stroke color   


We have checked the Shadow option to provide a drop shadow for our chosen, fire extinguisher symbol.  The drop shadow option allows us to choose the color to be used for the drop shadow, the angle at which the drop shadow will be offset from the symbol, and the offset distance for the drop shadow.  Specifying pt or not specifying any units means 3 points.  We can use a % to specify an offset as a percentage size of the symbol.


The default color for the drop shadow will be whatever is the Fill color.  In the above case, we have modified the color to make it a very dark gray, a custom choice that is indicated by the small white box in the color button. In the illustration the color choice might seem to be the same black color as the Fill color, but in reality it is a slightly lighter shade than black, a very dark gray.  We have also modified the angle from the default 135 degrees to 150 degrees.   Press OK


The Symbol button shows the symbol we have now specified, complete with the drop shadow option we chose.   The total Style button shows the total result.  



The drawing immediately changes to use the new drop shadow option.  If we look closely, we can see that the drop shadow appears at a 150 degree placement from the rotated symbol.  The symbol is first rotated 15 degrees as specified by the Rotation property, and then the drop shadow is applied at whatever placement angle was specified by the Symbol dialog option.

Fast Workflow

Workflow becomes faster when simple changes can be made at the top level of the Style pane without drilling down into dialogs.  



For example, tinkering with color is something we all like to do when composing displays.   To change Fill color from black to white, we simply click on the Fill color button and choose white.



The change is immediately applied.



To change Stroke color from red to black we simply click on the Stroke button and make the change, instantly.



The drawing immediately changes.    We can change our minds and very rapidly try out different color combinations to see what we like best.  



For example, if we want brighter symbols it is easy to click on the Fill color button and choose bright green.



Right away, the drawing changes.   We can also change symbols without changing the other properties.



In the above, we have clicked on the Symbol button and then drilled down through the More... choice into the full Symbols dialog so we could both choose a first aid kit symbol, called Briefcase Medical,  and also apply the drop shadow option to the first aid kit symbol as well.



Immediately, the drawing changes.



As a last step, we will change the Fill color again to a bright orange color.



In just a few moments we can make a very wide variety of changes, trying out numerous style properties to see what works best.


Compose Combinations All at Once

Sometimes we may prefer to change several properties at once, especially if we will be using options to compose more complex styles.   We can do that using the total Style button.



We start with the Equipment drawing using default formatting for points, small gray dots.



Press the total Style button for points.



In the drop down menu choose More... to go directly to the Point Style dialog.



The Point Style dialog normally uses a light blue background color for the preview pane.


If desired, we can click into the upper right corner of the Preview pane to set the background color to whatever color we want, for example, the color of a frequently occurring Fill color for areas in a map.    The quickest way of doing that is to choose the Color Picker... button at the bottom of the drop down color menu, and to click the eyedropper cursor onto whatever color we want, wherever it may be displayed on our monitor or monitors.   That automatically copies whatever that color is into the background for the preview box.


In the illustration above, we have used the same dark gray color as the background in the map. 



We choose the Glyphs collection.



Next, in the symbols pane we scroll down to the fire extinguisher symbol and choose that.  If desired, we could enter fire in the filter box to reduce the number of symbols to those with "fire" in their names.



Next we click on the Size button to choose a larger size.



36 points provides a nice size.  We click the Stroke color button to change the stroke color to red.



Next we click on the Fill color button to change fill color to black.



We click on the Rotation button to change rotation to 15 degrees.



So far, the preview pane shows what would happen in the main map if we pressed OK.  But nothing has changed in the main map.  If we do not like these changes we can press Cancel and the map will not change.  That is the big difference between using the total Style button compared to clicking on buttons for individual style properties.   Changing a basic style property immediately applies the change to the map, but using the total Style button allows us to experiment within the Point Style dialog without making changes.


We continue onward by checking the Shadow box to enable a drop shadow effect.



The drop shadow appears using the default Angle placement of 135 degrees.   That leaves too little shadow for our tastes given the rotation of the symbol, so we will change the Angle to 150 degrees.  



That is a subtle change but one which provides a better effect.   Another subtle change we can make is to click into the color box for the drop shadow option and choose a slightly lighter shade of dark gray instead of the default black.  


By default, the color used for the drop shadow is whatever is the Fill color.  That is a convenience that works well in many cases.  But we can override that default choice by specifying whatever color we want.


A slightly lighter shade of very dark gray gives a more realistic appearance against the dark gray background.  


One way to get such effects done correctly is to use the Color Picker... button at the bottom of the color choice drop down menu to first choose exactly the same shade as the background, and to then use the More... button at the bottom of the color choice drop down menu to darken that color slightly.  The resulting effect is like a darker shadow against the background color.


We continue our example by changing the Stroke to a fatter stroke, using a value of 2, to illustrate what the stroke width does.



Using a Stroke of 2 draws the symbol with an outline that is 2 points thick.   We could also specify the Stroke using a % character to use a stroke thickness that is a percent value of the size of the symbol.


If we like the overall result of all the properties we have specified to create the combined style, we press OK.



Immediately, the changes are applied both to the drawing and to the display in the Style pane.



If we would like to make further changes, we can click on the total Style dialog to make changes that way, or we can click on any of the other buttons to change an individual style property.  


Point Styles and Pixels - When using point styles that include precisely vertical or horizontal lines, with some choices of border stroke width and point size we can encounter visual effects where some point symbols seem sharper than others when seen on a computer monitor.  That is a result of thinner lines being interpolated slightly differently for rendering on the grid of pixels that makes up the display screen.   We can deal with that easily, as discussed in the Style: Symbol Sizes and Pixels topic.


Whatever works best - Sometimes it is more convenient to use the total Style button to work with all properties at once and sometimes it is more convenient to click an individual style property.   We can use whatever button is most convenient at the time.


Important: For icons we can use symbols from the built-in collections of symbols, like the fire extinguisher symbol used in this topic from the Glyphs collection, from fonts or from bitmap images.   Symbols we use from the built-in collections are always available and will continue to work even if we move the project to a different computer.


Symbols we take from bitmap images will also continue to work if we move the project to a different computer.  When we use an icon taken from a bitmap image, the image data for the symbol is encoded and stored into the style within the project.   If we save the project to a .map file we can copy the project to a different computer and the style will still appear correctly even if the original image file does not exist on that new computer.


Symbols from fonts are not embedded into the project. They depend on having the font installed in the Windows system we are using.   Suppose we choose a symbol from a font such as Meteocons, the font used as an example in the Example: Style Pane Quickstart topic, and we save the project as a .map file.  If we move that .map project to a different computer and then open it with Manifold, the style using that symbol will display correctly only if the Meteocons font is also installed in that new computer.   If the Meteocons font is not installed, the symbol will not display.



Manifold 9 - Style Pane Quickstart - Points - A fast and easy introduction to the new Style and formatting capabilities for Pionts in Manifold Release 9 and Viewer.  Learn how to rapidly change colors, symbology, sizes and rotations including the use of vector symbols, fonts and even bitmap images. The new system is "always on" and immediately shows changes in the main workspace for rapid, easy choice of exactly the visual effect we want.  This video gets right to the basics used every day.


Manifold 9 - Style Pane Quickstart - Lines - Learn how to use the spectacular new style capabilities for lines in Manifold Release 9 and Manifold Viewer to create an endless variety lines quickly and easily.  See how to add arrowheads or other symbols to the ends of lines, how to customize lines with repeating symbols, how to start lines with custom symbols and how to add accessory left and right lines for exactly the right effect.


Manifold 9 - Style Pane Quickstart - Areas - New area style capabilities in Release 9 and Viewer make it easy to rapidly create spectacular visuals that get the story across with clarity and compelling effect.  Learn how to use point and click controls to fill areas, control borders, draw "inner area" effects and "outer area" effects for a seeming infinite range of options, all available with a rapid click of the mouse.  Use bitmap images for area effects too!


Manifold 9 - Style Pane Quickstart - Labels - Recent builds of Release 9 have added extensive new style facilities for labels, making it easy to choose a wide variety of effects, including sidecar icons, box frames, drop shadows and many others. This video shows how fast and easy point-and-click dialogs make it easy to create exactly the label look you want.  Works for the free Manifold Viewer, too!


Manifold 9 - Bitmap Styles - A quick, first look at very extensive additions to Style, enabling use of bitmaps for styles, inner and outer area hatches, left and right line style additions and many other new features.


See Also

Getting Started


User Interface Basics






Style: Drawings


Style: Labels


Style: Areas


Style: Points


Style: Thematic Formatting


Style: Symbol Sizes and Pixels


Layers Pane


Example: Style Pane Quickstart - A tutorial introduction to using the Style pane to apply color, symbology, size and rotation to areas, lines and points in drawings.