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Help > Tutorial > Using Texas County Maps With Canvas 9 > Cropping and Scaling

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Using Canvas to Print Maps at a Specific Scale

Canvas is a graphically oriented CAD program that works in such as way that the user is always working on the page that ultimately will be printed. As such, it does not have the concept of model space and paper space, as is true in the case of AutoCAD (for example). When you import your map into Canvas, you should make sure that you scale the entire map to fit on the size of paper that you ultimately want to print on (letter, legal, tabloid, or larger plotter-sized sheets.) This way, you'll have the entire map at your disposal for when you wish to zoom in to a particular area of interest and plot it out at a desired scale.

(Note: the process below is a manual process, and as such, it will be important that you ensure that your original files are safe, either by being in another directory, or (ideally) backed up on a separate storage medium.)

Step 1: Crop the Area of Interest

Once you have determined the basic area that you wish to print to scale, click on the "Layout" menu on the menu bar. Then Click "Document Style", and finally "Crop and Fit To Sheet". This will shift Canvas into the mode of cropping out the desired portion of the map, which will remove the currently un-needed portion. Canvas will request that you specify a rectangular area to crop. You can work with the positioning of the rectangle until you get exactly what you need prior to the actual crop operation.

Step 1.1: Understanding How to Size the Crop Area

While this is a fairly manual process, and subject to some errors (at least at first), Canvas gives you feedback to help you in the process. In order to make sense of positioning the crop rectangle, you will need to know these things before you start:

  • The size of the sheet that will be printed
  • The scale that the map needs to be printed in
  • The crop size of the area to be cropped, in map dimensions

So, for the sake of example, we will assume:

  • Size of sheet: 11 x 17, landscape (It may be helpful to see this as 17 x 11)
  • Desired scale: 1" = 2000'
  • Resulting crop size (map units): 34000' x 22000'

Knowing this, then, you must make sure that the size of the crop rectangle, in map units, may be no larger than 34000' x 22000' in order for you to be able to print the resulting map at a scale of 1" = 2000'. Therefore, keep this in mind while sizing the area to crop. Canvas (on the toolbar) gives you instant feedback on the size of the area in map units after the initial placement of the rectangle. Therefore, it is necessary to get a crop rectangle on the map, but it is not necessary to get it right the first time, so don't worry about it. You can work with the area as long as you want, until you get it right.

This user has current crop extents of 15499.8 ft x 7706.6 ft

Step 1.2: Make it so

Once you have positioned the area to crop, and have double-checked that the area is less than or equal to the maximum size that you can crop, simply click anywhere insize the crop area and Canvas will crop the desired portion and size it to the extents of the paper that you are currently working with. When dialog appears, make sure that you allow Canvas to scale all existing objects (in other words, don't click on anything to exclude from the scaling process).

Suggestion: It would probably be a good idea at this point to save your work as a different file. Note that until you do so, the filename remains the same as the file that you started with, which is the file that contains the entire county! A mistake at this point could be costly. Again, make additionally sure that you have a backup of the file somewhere for added safety.

Step 2: Scaling the Document to the Desired Print Scale

After step 1, unless you somehow were able to make your crop rectangle the exact size, in map units, of the full sheet, you will have to perform the second step of scaling the information so that, when you print, it comes out to the exact print scale that you desire. One thing to keep in mind here is that the map units are in feet (not inches), so you will have to take that into account when selecting a scale. (For example, 1" = 2000' will be scaled to 1' = 24000', since the left side of the scale are map units, and the right side are in print units.) Therefore, you will need to manually set the proper scale:

  • On the toolbar, click on the drawing scale pulldown.
  • Select one of the standard drawing scales, if appropriate, or click on "Define custom scale..."
  • Click OK to allow Canvas to scale all existing objects (again) on the "Scale Document Options" dialog
  • If defining a custom scale, enter the scale parameters on the "Custom Scale" dialog. For the sake of our example, enter "1" in the top field, "24000" in the bottom field, and make sure that both pulldowns are set to "feet"


That's all there is to it! The first time through, you may have to really watch your steps, but over time, you get the hang of it!