Formatting is the application of style, color and size to objects in drawings or themes or to text in labels components. Because drawings usually appear as layers in maps, we will often think of formatting as formatting layers in maps. We use the Format toolbar to specify formatting that is to be used with objects in drawings and labels in text layers.
Formatting is not necessary in images because the appearance of images is controlled exclusively by the colors of the pixels that comprise the image. The Format toolbar is used in images to set the color and style applied by various painting tools.
A Familiar Concept
Formatting in a GIS context is directly analogous to formatting in a word processor such as Microsoft Word. When we format text in a word processor we apply display attributes such as font style, font size and color to the text.
Changing the font size, style and color can result in dramatic changes in the appearance of the text but the actual words stay the same. Just so, changing the formatting of objects in drawings can change dramatically their appearance even though the actual objects within the drawing stay the same.
The first illustration above shows default formatting for areas, lines and points. The second illustration shows those same objects with garish formatting applied as seen in a map with multiple layers (each layer having a different format). For example, one point is shown using a point style showing a yellow bus instead of the default small round circle style. Note that the lower horizontal line really consists of three lines, one of which was formatted as a thick red line while the other two were formatted using a dotted line style. In addition, layer opacity was used for the layer containing the checkerboard triangle.
Changing the format does not change the objects in the map. Using a bus symbol to show the point doesn’t turn the point into a large, bus-shaped area object. It simply uses a different icon instead of a small round circle to show where the point is located.
Formatting Requires Some Effort
Drawings will often be imported into Manifold from file formats that do not retain any information about the desired display attributes of the objects. This is analogous to importing a document into Microsoft Word from a plain .txt filet. In Word, the entire document will initially appear in Courier New or some other default font. Depending on the source of the document it might not have margins or paragraph marks correctly set and so on. Converting such a plain, .txt file into a beautifully formatted Microsoft Word .doc file will require some effort and good taste in the choice of fonts and other formatting details.
In Manifold System, we will often import complex maps from formats that do not retain information about visual appearance. In such cases, Manifold will initially show the drawing using default formatting. Specifying formatting to create a pretty map from such raw drawings will require some work and good taste.
Both illustrations above show the same map that consists of several drawings: the illustration on left uses default formatting for the drawings. The illustration at right has had formatting applied to the drawings so that land areas are colored green and ocean areas blue with population points shown as yellow icons instead of small round circles. Note how the application of sensible formatting makes the image on the right more comprehensible.
Manifold has many tools to help format complex maps with great efficiency. Also, many basic maps are provided on the Manifold downloads site have already been formatted. These maps may be used "as is" or may be easily reformatted to suite any taste.
The Formatting Drawings topic covers formatting in detail. It should be read together with the other drawings topics, beginning with the main Drawings topic.
Thematic formatting is the process of automatically coloring objects in drawings or themes based on the value of their data attribute fields in tables associated with the drawing. For example, we might change the color of states by the value of their populations or increase or decrease the size of points representing cities based on the value of their population fields. The greater the population, the larger the point.
The illustration above shows cities in Texas where each city has a population field in the associated table. The point sizes of the cities have been thematically formatted by the value of the population field. The above illustration also has had the background color of points thematically formatted by the population field, so that the color changes as well.
See the Thematic Formatting topic for details on thematic formatting.
Palettes used in thematic formats may be customized, and new palettes may be added to Manifold. See the Customization topic.
New point styles may be added to Manifold by including True Type font symbols or images in .bmp, .jpg or other graphics files as point styles. For example, the bus style used in the illustration above comes from a popular Windows font. See the Custom Point Styles topic for more.
Themes and Drawings
It's frequently the case that we would like to format the same drawing in several different ways. Manifold allows us to create themes to show the same drawing using different formatting characteristics. Themes require no extra storage because they do not duplicate the drawing, they simply show the same drawing using different formatting, such as different background or foreground colors. See the Themes topic for details.