Do you want to add grids and grid frame to your map in QGIS? Grids and grid frame are standard elements that a good map should contain. Grids and grid frame do not only add beauty to your map but they also make it easy for your readers to locate features easily and have a greater map-reading experience. In this article, we will show you how to easily add grids and grid frame to your map in QGIS.

We recommend that you read this article on  best practices of grids and grid frame in map making.

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If you don’t want to watch the video tutorial, then you can continue reading the text version below:

Adding Grids to Your Map in QGIS

1. Open Print Composer

First thing you need to do is export your work on the QGIS canvas to the print composer.

To do this, simply move your mouse to the top left corner of the QGIS interface and click on ‘project –> new print layout.’ You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + P on your keyboard.

2. Add map to print composer

Click the ‘add a new map button’ on the left side of the print composer. See the screenshot above for exact location of the button.

Alternatively, you can click on add item –> add map from the top menu. This performs the same function as the button.

Click and drag your cursor in the print canvas as if you wanted to draw a rectangle. Make the rectangle as large as you want your map to cover on the canvas.

Your map should be rendered now.

3. Add grid to map

Now that the map has been imported to our print composer. The next step is to add grids to our map.

Click on ‘map 1’ on the top right of the screen, Then go to ‘item properties’ and scroll down till you see the Grid option. Tick it.

The grid has been added but we will not see it because we have not specified the interval. The grid interval refers to how much far away we want our grids to be.

Click the drop down arrow beside the grid option. Change the interval to 5 degrees. Conventionally, cartographers use 5 degrees to 15 degrees interval depending on the scale of the map.

Your grids have been drawn.

Customizing Your Grids

QGIS has inbuilt functionality to allow you customize your grids. For example you can change the grid style, colour of grid lines, thickness of grid lines to mention just a few.

a. Customizing your grid style

Click on ‘modify grid’, the first option that you will see under the modify grid dialog is grid type. Click the drop down menu, you will find the following options:

Solid, Cross, Markers, Frames and annotations only. Click on each of them and see how they look then choose the one that best suits your need. Most maps I’ve seen use the solid style.

b. Customizing your grid colour

To change your grid colour, open the modify grid dialog once again and scroll own. You should find an option labelled ‘line style’ or ‘marker style’ depending on the grid style you chose above. If your grid style is solid or cross then you will see line style, but if your grid style is markers, you will see marker style.

Click on the arrow and QGIS will open a colour wheel, choose the colour of your choice.

To change the line thickness and style click on the arrow and QGIS will open its styling menu for you to fully customize the marker or line to your taste.

Adding Grid frame to Your Map in QGIS

Adding grid frame to your map in QGIS is similar to adding grids to your map. Follow the following steps and you should be done in less than a minute:

  1. Open the ‘MAP GRID PROPERTIES’ dialog, scroll down to the second section labelled ‘frame’.
  2. The first option allows you to choose the frame style, play around with them to see how each looks.
  3. The frame section has a number of other options for you to customize the frame style to your taste and needs. Play around with the options to see the effect of each.

Draw coordinates for your grids and frame

The next section under the ‘MAP GRID PROPERTIES’ dialog allows you add coordinates to your map grids and frame.

Click on the radio button beside the section labelled ‘DRAW COORDINATES’ and QGIS will draw the longitudes and latitudes of grid line or marker on the edge of your map.

The ‘DRAW COORDINATES’ section has a number of options to allow you change the font, placement and colour of your coordinates. Play around with the options and see how they affect your map.


We hope this article helped you learn how to easily add grids and grid frame to your map in QGIS.

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