AutoCAD Map 3D: Creating a Map Book in Map 3D


A map book in Map 3D divides your map into multiple “tiles” and displays each tile on a separate page. Different from the plan production tools Map books will tile the maps in a grid pattern and place them in a sheet set for printing. The concept of using a grid and overlaying your map. Each section of the grid represents a tile. Each map book you create will also be associated with a Sheet Set.

Open Map 3D and on the View tab of the ribbon move to the palettes pane and select Map Task Pane as shown in Figure 1. When selecting Map Task Pane (MWSPACE) the Task Pane Palette will be displayed.

Figure 1: Map Task Pane


This is where you will begin the process of creating your Mapbook. First, a template must be created to ensure that we are providing the correct viewports including a plan view and key plan (if necessary). Open an existing map book template from Autodesk or your company’s standard title block. Autodesk provides map book templates for a variety of paper sizes included in the Templates folder as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: The Sample Templates

Use the following steps to create your company standard template.

  1. Open a template and rename the layout tab to your preference. Resize the viewports on the layout as needed.
  2. Customize the viewports on the template as desired. Do you need the main viewport and a key plan?
  3. Make sure you have the correct placeholders in there for the Mapbook.
  4. Save the map file as a DWT (AutoCAD Drawing Template) file.


You must identify each element in your map book template as a placeholder for information to be displayed on your map. For example, you select the viewport intended for the title and identify it as a title block placeholder. To create a map book, you must first set up a map book template. You can start with a sample template or your company standard and adapt it to your needs. When the template is complete, you generate the map book. Every map book template specifies printer settings (such as paper size and the printer driver to use) and defines the size and position of elements on the page (for example, the legend, title block, and map tiles).

We will now review the template settings and viewports. The title block needs to be an AutoCAD block object inserted into Paper Space on a layout. You will want to give the layout a logical name (i.e., ANSID – 22 x 34). If your title block contains fields for attributes that will work very well. You can also set up your title block to be linked to a Sheet Set template to assist in populating the data throughout the project.

The Main Viewport (4) is the only setting that is needed within your template for a Mapbook to be created. The main viewport will be used as the size of the map you will be created depending on the tiling scheme. The following 4 placeholders are shown in Figure 3. (Image does not represent the original size, cut for clarity).

  1. Map book Placeholders.
  2. Viewport for the Keymap
  3. Viewport for the Legend
  4. Sheet Set Manager fields.

Figure 3: The title block template

The viewports included within the template are NOT part of the actual title block so create the block prior to creating the viewports. If you create the viewports on a non-plot layer you will need to include a border for them as part of the block to ensure that you have a place where the maps can connect.


The last items we add to the template are the “Adjacent Arrow” blocks. These are the arrows that point to the top, bottom, left, or right with the adjacent page listed on them. These arrow blocks are a block with one attribute defined with a field as the value, after one is inserted on the template in paper space, we will assign the attribute a “field value” using a sheet set custom property.

Figure 4: The Adjacent Arrow block

Note: Map 3D is smart enough to understand that if there is no map connecting to that area then the block will not be inserted letting the user know that the Mapbook does not continue in that direction.

Double click the field (####) to ensure that we are referring to the correct portion of the map.

For the In the Field Dialog Browse to the SheetSet category:

  1. Select SheetSet from the field name list.
  2. Select CurrentSheetCustom from the field name list.
  3. Select the Title case for the format (this is your company standard or preference).
  4. Type in Top (Case Sensitive).
  5. Select OK to close.

Figure 5: The Arrow block field settings


Save your template file and go back into Map 3d. You now must identify the placeholders within your template file. If you do not complete this step the maps will not be created. Follow these steps in the Task pane. Refer to Figure 6 for these steps.

Figure 6: Template Placeholders

  1. Select Tools
  2. Identify Template Placeholders
  3. Select the placeholders that will be used in your current drawing.
  4. Close the dialog box and the drawing.


Now that we have the template created, we can now create our map book. With your map open move to the Map book tab on the task pane (1) then select New (2) and lastly Map Book (3).

Figure 7: Create the Map Book

Starting with the first node it wants you to tell it what you want to create the map book from. The choices are Map Display or Model Space. We are going to choose Model Space and type in the name Mapbook_Project. The map display button will allow you to connect to GIS data and use that as the source of your map book. The next step is creating a Sheet Template. This will be directly linked to the title block template we created at the beginning of the setup.

Figure 8: Map Book Name

  1. Select the ellipses on the right and navigate to your template containing your map book elements.
  2. Select the desired layout.
  3. Include the name of your title block file (block within the template).
  4. Add the adjacent arrow block.
  5. Enter the desired scale factor.
  6. Preview the tiles. This is very important to see if your scale covers the desired area of your map book. When you are done making the preview you can go back and adjust the area after you set up the columns and rows.

Figure 9: Map Book Settings

Moving on to the tiling scheme. We have the options of ‘By Area’, ‘By Number’, or ‘Custom’. Note: If you select ‘By Area’… Map 3D will calculate the area and place a square grid pattern for your map. Your viewports will then be moved and scaled to fit the area you have selected. Select ‘By Number’ as shown in Figure x and follow steps 1 thru 6.

Steps 1 thru 6 are shown in the order of the workflow for completing your tiling scheme.

  1. Select ‘By Number’.
  2. Select the layer to place the map grid boxes on. Create this layer in your template then move to the main viewport and make sure the layer is frozen in that viewport. This way when you create the maps the layer will be off in the viewport and will not print.
  3. By selecting the upper left corner, you will define the starting point of your grid. The lower left will be represented by the scale you choose, the size of your main viewport, and the columns and rows.
  4. Select how many columns and rows you would like. You can change this after you preview the map.
  5. 0 percent for the overlap. We do not want any overlap and would like our maps to connect via the borders or match lines.
  6. Preview tiles.  This is very important. You will have the option to preview your grid sequence to see if you have covered your entire area. Continue changing the columns and rows until you have the correct area of coverage.

Figure 10: Tiling Scheme


You have several options for creating keymaps. Typically, the keymap is a smaller map displayed within the title block area with a view frame to identify the map displayed.

  1. Select ‘Layers’
  2. Select the layers below and hit Add layers for the map key.
  3. The layers that will be used for the keymap will be displayed within this window.

Figure 11: Creating a Key Map


We already have a legend in the model space for your current project. We also have the viewport defined in our template. Therefore, we are going to select the window of the legend.

  1. Select User Defined
  2. Select modelspace bounds >> You will be taken out to your map where you will select the upper left corner and then the lower right corner for the boundaries of your legend.
  3. Preview displayed within the window.

Figure 12: Create a Legend

Next you will create your map book. In Figure 13, you can see how the tiles start with A and are similar to subsets within the Sheet Set Manager. Followed by the numbering scheme. You can customize these after you create the tiles to your project and/or company standard.

Figure 13: Mapbook Naming


Although this is not a paper on the Sheet Set Manager when you create a map book you can also create a sheet set.  New or a subset of an existing one. Good practice would be to create one that already is for your project and has fields set up that will automatically populate throughout your project.

Figure 14: Create the Sheet Set

  1. Select Create New
  2. Move out to your folder and select an existing Sheet Set or a new Sheet Set.
  3. Move to steps 4 and 5 if adding to an existing Sheet Set.
  4. Rename the subset
  5. Rename the subset to Mapbook.

Figure 15: The Map book and Sheet Set


Whether you are using Map 3D or Civil 3D the power of the map book tools can help you create and set up tiled maps quickly and with efficiency. Think about workflow and how many times you have been asked to split up a large site plan in a tiled or grid pattern. There are many times when creating sheets with a map book can be effective for large commercial, civil, and industrial sites. Having a grid-style approach can help you keep your sheets organized and easily accessible through a map book. Imagine how many projects in the past you could have used this method to create and separate those large sites including a key map for quick reference. Map books can help you become more efficient and productive making you more valuable and providing profit to the company you work for.

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