How to Use the Draw Graphics Tool

Add points, radius, line segments and other various graphics directly onto your map. Change the colors and make edits to highlight specific areas you want to show others.

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This tutorial is for you to draw auxiliary graphics, such as point, arrow, or circle, on a map. You will find such graphics helpful in map display to draw your audience’s attention to certain areas. We will review how to:

  • Prepare to Draw Graphics
  • Access the Draw Graphics Tool
  • Draw Graphics on a Map
  • Edit and Delete Graphics

Prepare to Draw Graphics

Before you use the Draw Graphics tool to add auxiliary shapes to your map, make sure you already added a data layer and had the location (around which you are going to tell the story) in your map view area. Check the tutorial of How to Make a Map if you have any questions on these steps.

Access the Draw Graphics Tool

You have two ways to access the Draw Graphics tool. You can access it by clicking the button at the top left or the “Tools” bar on the bottom right of the legend. In either way, you then click on under Map Tools in the Tools panel.

Draw Graphics on a Map

Now that you are in the Draw Graphics panel, you will see the 2*5 table containing all the graphic options you can choose from. Click on any one of them and check the tips underneath the table or afloat on the map following your mouse cursor before you draw.

A brief summary of the commonality and differences of the ten options are as follows: Point is made by simply clicking; Polygon and Polyline are drawn by point-and-click; all the others except Circle with Radius are drawn by drag-and-drop. 

You should specifically notice the direction of your drawing with Line Segment or Arrow. If you want to point to a specific area on the map, draw towards the area that you would like to highlight.

To add a location radius, you will first need to enter the number of miles that you would like the radius to draw. Then click on the map where you would like the center of the radial circle to display.

Edit and Delete Graphics

To change the color of the graphic to be drawn, click the button and select a color from the color ramp.

To remove the last graphic you have put on the map, select . You can also discard all drawings by selecting at the bottom of the panel.


If you need any additional assistance feel free to email us at sparkmap@missouri.edu