Pitney Bowes
MapInfo Pro™ Monthly Journal
Something a Bit More Advanced! Streamline Layer Control with Multiple Style Overrides

In the December 2012 issue of "The MapInfo Professional" journal we introduced the basics of using Zoom Layering to enable you to control the level detail that appears in your map. In this issue we will take things further with some techniques to show you how you can streamline layer control with Multiple Style Overrides and Stacked Styles.

Multiple Style Overrides

Occasionally it is necessary to have a layer appear in your map with a different appearance, at different zoom levels. For example, you might have cities appear as small points when you are zoomed out and as larger points when you are zoomed in. As a second example, you may also change the width of a motorway or major road as you zoom in and zoom out.

In these two screen shots, the same point layer is displayed at different sizes as you zoom in or out. Map data ©TomTom BV.

The Easy Way or the Hard Way

There is a way to adjust the display of a layer as you zoom in and out which involves adding the same layer into the map window multiple times. This method works but it adds clutter to the Layer Control dialog box. For anyone using MapInfo Professional v10.5 or later there is a better way. These more recent versions of MapInfo Professional offer the ability to apply multiple style overrides to the same layer.

Overrides are easy to create, simply right-click on the layer in Layer Control.

Map data is MapInfo StreetPro Russia ©TomTom BV.

The screen shot below provides some info on how the use the Display Overrides.


Labels that get larger as you zoom in...and smaller when you zoom out...

You may have noticed the Add a Label Override command in the right-click menu. This can be used to specify different sizes and styles of labels to appear at different zoom levels.

Map data is MapInfo StreetPro UK ©TomTom BV.

Stacked Styles - explore new options for styling your maps ... and a further way to unclutter Layer Control

A fairly common technique to get the desired look of a map is to use the same layer with different styles. For example, the roads in the screen shot below are given a double line effect by using the street layer twice. One layer is a thicker red line and the second is a thinner white line.

As with multiple style overrides, this can be accomplished in Layer Control by adding the map layer to the map multiple times and setting different styles for each Layer. Once again this causes unnecessary clutter. There is the further issue that if this technique is used it is difficult to see what the desired style will be for the map layer. Layer Control does not provide a good preview because the different styles are in different layers.

An alternative is available (again in MapInfo Professional v10.5 and later). For points, lines and region layers, there is an option to use Stacked Styles. The name pretty much describes the capability. You can easily specify multiple object styles to represent a single layer.

See the screen shot below for an example.

To use the Stacked Styles option, in Layer Control, choose the tic box as above. Map data is from WorldInfo© Pitney Bowes Software.

Mix it all up.

Between the Display Overrides, Label Overrides and Stacked Styles you have a powerful combination of capabilities. These capabilities can all be used in combination with each other.

Software Suggestions?

Pitney Bowes Software maintains a public Ideas Portal. If you have suggestions for MapInfo Professional, (and I know you do) then this is the place to log them. In addition, with this portal you can see the suggestions everyone else has written and vote for your favourites!

Click here to visit the portal!

Article by Tom Probert, Editor of "The MapInfo Professional" journal

When not writing articles for "The MapInfo Professional", Tom enjoys talking to MapInfo Professional users at conferences and events. When not working he likes to see movies with car chases, explosions and kung-fu fighting.