Joining tables to produce thematic maps

   Map object styles


   Using Expressions for Labeling

   Creating a Bivariate Thematic Map


MapInfo Users of Vietnam  

Product Information 


Free Data  

Tech Tip  

Free Digital Terrain Model of Vietnam  




Map object styles

The style of symbols (point objects), lines (line objects), regions (area objects) and text (text objects) can be changed with the style entries on the Options menu or their toolbox and keyboard equivalents:

Object type Toolbox icon Keyboard shortcut Options menu
Point/symbol Alt F8 Options>Symbol Style
Line/polyline Shift F8 Options>Line Style
Area/region Ctrl F8 Options>Region Style
Text F8 Options>Text Style

Selecting the menu entry or toolbox icon will display the appropriate style dialogue. Clicking on the pull-down lists will display the alternative symbols, line and fill styles, colours etc. available.

Scope of application of styles
Changes made in the style dialogue box apply:

   To select objects on the currently active map window: the map layer must be editable;

   To any objects of the same type (point, line, area or text) which are drawn until another style change is made.

You can also modify the style of an object, and all subsequent objects drawn, by clicking the style button on the object information dialogue.

MapInfo’s behaviour in changing both the style of selected objects and the default style for that type of object, is contrary to normal Windows conventions (where the default style is changed only if no objects are selected and can be extremely frustrating). It is to be hoped that this 'feature' will be fixed in a future version.

Why styles don't change
The style of selected map objects will only change if they are in the editable layer. Check that the objects whose style you are trying to change show editing handles.

If the objects are in the editable layer, check for style override (page 82). If style override is on for the layer containing the objects, the objects will display with the styles specified under style override, whatever the individual styles applied to the objects. Your style changes will have been made, but they will only show when style override is turned off.

Point object style
The Font list allows selection of any of the Windows fonts installed, including special Maplnfo fonts. The default is Maplnfo Version 3 compatible symbols, which is not a True Type font. N in the font pull-down indicates a null symbol, i.e. no symbol will plot. Maximum symbol size is 48 point. Minimum size in the pulldown list is 9 points, but smaller sizes can be typed in and are generally useful down to about 4 point.

Rotation, Background and Effects are only available for True Type fonts. Rotation gives the angle of rotation in an anticlockwise direction. The different backgrounds (None; Halo; and Border) are exclusive - only one at a time can be selected - whereas the effects (Drop Shadow and Bold) can be applied together.

New symbols can be defined through the Symbols MapBasic application, supplied with Maplnfo, or created as bitmaps in the CustSymb directory.

Line object style
Line styles are limited to those provided by Maplnfo. There are a number of conventional cartographic line styles towards the end of the pull-down list of styles (shown on right, above), but the paucity of styles and the inability to create new ones is a problem for cartographic applications.

'N' at the start of the list indicates a null line style, i.e. no line is drawn. Null lines are particularly relevant for line styles associated with area object (region) boundaries (see below) which may not require borders.

Note the line styles with a symbol at each end (arrows or blobs). These can be useful for drawing in arrows or emphasising the ends of lines, but the quality of the arrows is poor and there is no choice of arrow style. A utility for creating arrows in different styles is available from the GISNet Maplnfo FIP site

Region object style
Unchecking the box to the left of Background in the Region Style dialogue makes the fill background transparent, so that underlying objects can be seen through it. The pattern shown in the Patterns list is drawn in the Foreground colour; the spaces between the hatches, dots etc. are the background.

Note that 'N' in the line style or fill pattern lists means no line or no rill respectively. No fill is transparent, so that polygons, rectangles etc. with this fill style do not obscure underlying objects (even an apparently empty fill will obscure underlying objects, because it is a solid fill in the colour white).

Text copied from:
Understanding MapInfo: A Structured Guide
Ian Johnson, 1996
Archaelogical Computing Library
University of Sydney, NSW

  © Copyright GEOBIZ. All rights reserved
Add:No8, Lane 42, Lieu Giai, Ba Dinh, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel : (++84 4) 762 9224 ; Fax : (++84 4) 832 5933 ; Email :
Designed by