PCI Geomatics Help Center

How can we help you today?

Creating Maps - Working with Surround Elements

PCI Geomatics -

A surround is a collection of graphical elements that gives meaning or clarifies the meaning of geographical information displayed in a map. It puts the data into context that can be analyzed, organized, and communicated effectively. Focus provides the following surround elements:

  • Neatline
  • Border
  • Grid
  • Legend
  • North Arrow
  • Text Paragraph
  • Picture
  • Scale bar
  • Title

To Add Surround Elements

1. Open the image for mapping.
2. Select the Map View Mode which will allow for the insertion of the surround elements.

3. Right-click on New Area in the Maps tab.
4. Select Create to add one surround element OR Surround to add multiple elements.
5. If click Surround, check off the elements to be added to the map. Click on the Properties button to preview and choose the style and position of each element.

Alternatively, modify elements after adding them onto the map (see To Modify Properties).

Note: Choose the style of the element in the Quick Style tab before assigning settings to other properties. Once the style is changed, all settings would return to the default settings of the chosen style.

6. Click OK to insert all the selected elements to the map.

Note: The text box for the Paragraph element is placed at the center of the image.


To Modify Properties

  1. Select the surround element on the Maps tab. The element would then be marked on the map display and it can then be repositioned with the cursor.
  2. Right-click on the element on the Maps tab and select Properties.
  3. Enter the desired changes to the properties (see details below). If changing text – please refer to To Set Text Properties below.

Note: The cursor can change the size of the border and north arrow after the element has been selected in the Maps tab. Sizes of other elements have to be specified under Properties. Surround elements can be positioned in the Position tab in Properties panel of the element or by using the cursor after the element has been selected.

The following is a list of recommended properties that are to be modified to improve the clarity of the surround elements. There are other properties that are not included in this list which can be edited to create the desired map composition. To view the changes on the map, click Apply in the Properties dialog box.



  1. Quick Style - select the style of the legend (i.e. number of columns)
  2. Title - click on the Text style selector to change the font size (if title is needed). Spacing from columns may have to be increased
  3. Filter - click on the box under the Generate column to specify the layer that is to be included in the legend
  4. Structure - click on section title under Legend hierarchy to display the Legend Section Properties.
  • If desired, leave the section title for display and make changes to this feature (click on Title style button)
  • Click on the Item text style button to change the font and size of legend items
  • To change item name: click on the name in the Legend hierarchy and retype the preferred name
  • To delete item: right-click on the item and then select Delete

  • Click on the Advanced button to set the size of samples and length of delimiters in the Legend section properties – Advanced panel
  • If desired, specify the alignment of legend items by selecting Left or Right under Description Alignment

Note: if delimiters are not set to be shown, then there would not be any space between the item description and the sample – therefore, click on the Delimiter style button in the Legend Properties panel, change color to white, and then specify a length in the Advanced panel.

Column - adjust the column width and set the margin spacing


Scale bar

Quick Style

  • select style for scale bar (click Apply to view the style on the map)


  • Uncheck Automatic Division and change division size (and units if necessary)
  • Click on the Advanced button (default setting is to include the units at the front and end of the scale bar, modify this setting where necessary and click on the Text style button to increase the font size)
  • Leave the Headings selected, click on the Text style button to increase the font size. Increase the value for Distance from Scale bar


  • include SubDivision and if Headings are selected, change the font size in the Text style selector


  • increase the scale bar height to at least 2mm


North Arrow

Quick Styles

  • select style for north arrow (click Apply to view the style on the map)


  • click on the tab of the desired arrow type
  • click on the Style Selector and change the size of the arrow if necessary (can change the size with the cursor on the map as well)


  • enter the angle of the north arrow


Text features (title, paragraph, etc.)

Enter the text in space provided or use the Paragraph tool to import contents from another file. See To Set Text Properties for more details.

Example output with surround elements

To Set Text Properties

The default text font may not be legible on the map. For these surround elements, click on the Text style button. Below is an example for changing the text of the map title.

1. Click on the Text Style Selector button

2. Select font style based on the display grid OR click on the More button (see Step 3)

3. Change font color and size in the expanded panel OR click on Advanced button in expanded panel to change font based on style name

4. Click Apply on the Style Selector panel and then on the Properties panel to view font changes.


To Delete Surround Elements

Right-click on the element in the Maps tab and select Delete.

To Change the Size of Map Sheet

  1. Right-click on Unnamed Map in the Maps tab.
  2. With the map sheet selected in the Map View, use the cursor to change the extents of the map area.


Have more questions? Submit a request


Powered by Zendesk