Map Book Part 2 – The Template File

Once you have the map created that you want to use for your map book we need to set up the template file as the next step in creating a map book. There are a few templates that come with Map 3D that you can edit or if you want you can create your own. The template file is saved as a dwt (AutoCAD Template File). The template needs to be created in a layout starting with a blank drawing if you want to create your own. You can make a template as simple or complex as you want. Here is one of the samples that is include with Map 3D with some labels pointing out the key items that can be part of the template.


   Now not everything you see here is required. There is only one item that is needed for the template to work. A main Viewport. But lets look at the Title block first. The title block needs to be an AutoCAD block object and inserted into Paper Space on the layout. What makes up the title block “block” can be almost anything you want, if you want to include your company’s logo as an image you can. If you want to include a north arrow you can make it part of the block also. The only things you need to stay away from are attributes that are not fields or have a preset value. Using fields for attributes work extremely well, so if you need to have a date or file name in the title block use a field.  You can draw your border and title block in model space, then create a block out of them, but remember it must be a block in paper space.  

Now before you go to far make sure you use the layout manager and set up the page to where you plan on printing/plotting you map book to and rename the layout.   

The next item you need is the “Main” viewport. The main viewport is where the portion of your main map is displayed. There is nothing special about this viewport so once you have the title block/border inserted then size the default viewport to fit as required. Keep in mind the size should be scaled to the grid for the map book. I’ll get into this in part 3.

 Other items that can go into the template are viewports for a legend and a viewport for a key view. Again these are just normal viewports at this time, we will tell Map 3D what they will be used for later so just create them as normal viewports for now. One thing I want to point out, the viewports are NOT part of the Title Block so create the block prior to creating the viewports. If you create the viewports on a non-plot layer you will need to include a border for them as part of the Title Block otherwise you may end up with a funky looking map.

The last items we add to the template are the “Adjacent Arrow” blocks. Now if you don’t know what these are, they are the arrows that point to the top/bottom/left/right with the adjacent page listed on them, or if you are plotting to DWF format hyperlinks to those pages. These arrow blocks are a block with one attribute defined with a field as the value, after one is inserted on the template in paper space we will assign the attribute a “field value” using a sheet set custom property. So let’s try to create a custom adjacent arrow block to use in our map book template. The first thing is create the geometry that will make up the block, I just drew a few lines to create a arrow pointing down, you can get as elaborate as you want to include adding hatch.


The next step is create an attribute and place it at center of the block. To create the attribute I use the old command line command attdef. Note: You can also use the Block Editor (Bedit) put I’m old school. In the Attribute Definition dialog give the tag a name (I like TAG for this).


For the “Default Value” click the icon to insert a field.


In the Field Dialog Browse to the “SheetSet” category, select “CurrentSheetCustom” from the field name list. In the “Custom Property Name” text box type in Bottom. Hint: the value can be Top, Bottom, Left, Right but it must be title case. Top is not the same as top or TOP. Click OK, back in the Attribute Definition dialog verily all the parameters(text style, height, etc. and the MODE settings, they should all be off (unchecked). Click OK and insert the attribute tag on you arrow.


Now create the block using the block command or if you used the block editor save your block and close the editor. Hint: Beware of where you place the insertion point it may help later on the insertion of the block.

You should now be back in you layout with the title block view ports and still in paper space. Insert the arrow block you created place it in the location you want, repeat for the other locations, top, bottom, left side, right side. Rotate them as need so they are pointing out, and make sure they are NOT inside the view ports and are in paper space. The next thing we need to do is edit the field values for the other three arrows, Remember the one we created was for the bottom. To edit them use the eattedit command or double click on the block. In the Enhanced Attribute Editor on the Attribute tab, select the tag then highlight the current value, it should display ####, right click and select edit field.


In the Field dialog, enter Top for the top arrow block and apply, then OK out of the dialogs. Pan to the next arrow block and repeat for the respective direction, repeat for the remaining arrows blocks.

The last step in creating our map book template is to identify the template placeholders. From the Map Task Pane, Map book tab, click the tool icon and select Identify Template Placeholders.


With this dialog you assign the objects on the layout to the objects that will be used in the map book. Select Main Viewport on the left, then click on the Select Placeholder(s)>> button, the dialog will hide allowing you to select the Main Viewport you created on the template. After you select the viewport the dialog will show again allowing you to select the next item. If you do not have a key or legend viewport you can skip those items, the only item you need to select is the Main Viewport. After you select all your placeholders click the close button.

            Now the last thing you need to do is save the template. Final hint: If you name the layout with a name you can associate with the plot device, paper size etc. it makes it easier after you create a couple layout templates to select the proper one in the next few steps. Use the saveas command and save the drawing as a dwt, again name it to reflect the size and that it is a map book template and not as custom drawing template.

That’s it for now I will post part 3 in a few days.    


2 Responses to “Map Book Part 2 – The Template File”

  1. 1 map3d 08/14/2008 at 8:33 PM

    It’s possible using hyperlinks, I just tried with a small map and used the sample template files in Map3D 2009. You may need to set it up manually but it should give you what you want. After I get some of the “paying” work caught up I’ll post a How-Do on it.

  2. 2 hintongis 08/13/2008 at 3:21 PM

    Is it possible instead of having arrows, I would like the number of the page in a grid and then being able to navigate by clicking on the appropriate number.
    So you would have the following in your key view

    1 2 3
    4 5 6
    7 8 9

    5 would be the current page and by clicking on the other numbers, that would be the page you would navigate to.

    Michael Kohler

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