Help:GM Workshop/Resources/Making Maps in Excel

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Note that these steps are only recommendations and that many steps could be changed to suit your own map making style. Things which are marked as preference are marked in blue and bolded. If all of the parts of a step are personal preference, it will be denoted with OPTIONAL. In this case, none of the text within will be blue or bolded; it will be assumed to be. All parameters are also personal preferences but will not be made blue or bold. This guide assumes you are using a Windows computer.

Requirements: Microsoft Excel (2000, XP, 2003, 2007, 2010) or OpenOffice Calc Paint,, Fireworks, GIMP, or some other image editing software. If you just post the .xls for your players, you can skip this step, but generally, it's more player-friendly to do it this way. An account with Photobucket, Flickr, or some other photo hosting website. Again, not needed if you're posting the .xls.

Setting Up

Step 1 Open Excel. [1]

Step 2 - Press Ctrl-A, or in other words, select all. This is also doable by clicking the button in the upper-left, where no cell is to the left of, or below. [2]

Step 3 - Go to the space between columns A and B, and drag it until the cell width is 100 pixels. [3]

Step 4 - Do step 3, except between rows 1 and 2. [4]

Step 5 - OPTIONAL While still having all cells selected, press Ctrl-1 (Edit Cells), put all cells to wrap text, Times New Roman font, font size 14. This is only used if you're writing a key or something.

Making The Map

Step 6 - Let's say you're going to make a small room, a 5x5 with a 1x3 hallway leading in. Start by selecting the 'main room' area. Then, press Ctrl-1. I generally leave the 'A' column and row 1 empty, and have the upperleftmost block B2. Note that my zoom is now 75%, to accommodate the room. [5]

Step 7 - Now, move to the tab called border. I use the thickest line, the choice second to the bottom on the left column. Click the outline button. Then click 'Okay'. [6]

Step 8 - When adding halls, do the same as if it were another room. However, once that is done, find the square with the irritating line between connection of hallway and room, click it, and press Ctrl-1. Go to the borders tab once again. This time, instead of click "Outline", find the offending side which separates hallway and room, and click it. It should disappear. The screenshot skips past the hallway-making, and to the personal preference part. Alternatively, you could just place a door there.]I'll talk about this later. Press okay. Screenshot of Step 8 -Before clicking okay- [7] Screenshot of Step 8 -After clicking okay- [8]

Step 9 OPTIONAL Find the squares around the room, assuming they are walls, and select them. You can click and drag to select a group, and hold control while clicking to add to a current group. Then, go to the paint can on the toolbar on the top, click it, and find grey 50%. Click that. Screenshot of Step 9 - Before clicking grey 50% - [9] Screenshot of Step 9 - After clicking grey 50% - [10]

Making Objects And People

For this segment, we'll make a table, a monster, an NPC, and a player.

Step 10 - Making Basic Objects- Find your insert tab/filemenu. Click on basic shapes, then the rectangle. Position your pointer directly over the corner between four squares, click, and drag to make the desired size. I'll make a 1x2 on the corner. It may help to label things. Labeling can be found a few steps from now. Then, click the shape, then the paint can, and then brown. Screenshot of Step 10 -Before coloring table- [11] Screenshot of Step 10 -After coloring table- [12]

=Step 11 -Making Creatures- Again, find your insert tab/filemenu. Click on basic shapes, then the circle. We'll be making a human rogue, so we'll make the diameter a square's width. I'll be coloring it red, since it's an enemy. [13]

Step 12 -Making More Stuff- Making a wizard player (blue), and NPC fighter (green). If you want to make all the medium characters the same size, you can just click the red circle, press Ctrl-C, move to another location, click another square where you want to place the circle, and press Ctrl-V. This saves me a great deal of time. Screenshot of Step 12 [14]

Step 13 -Labels, Part I- To make a label, first, find a text box. It'll be under the insert tab too. If you are using OpenOffice, you can just double click the shape. If you are, you can skip these next few sentences. Drag the text box to make the circle encircle the box. Screenshot of Step 13 -Before letting go of the mouse button- [15] Screenshot of Step 13 -After letting go of the mouse button- [16]

Step 14 -Labels, Part II- Change the text size, font, and positioning to what you like. Use Times New Roman centered. Your font size depends on the name; use whatever fits the best. These buttons can be found on the main toolbar. I've named the rogue Rogue. Then, with the box still selected, click the paint can, and click the no fill option. Once that is done, hold control down and click the circle beneath the text box. Right click somewhere on the circle, and from the resulting menu, go to the 'Group' sub-menu, and click group. Then, repeat with any other tokens. You can apply this same procedure to label other things. Note, if you want to make the token with an image, skip the whole text box thing, and just click the paint can, click more colors, and you should get a menu from which you can upload an image to display. There may be some other procedure, but I think that should be it. Screenshot of Step 14 -Before adding anything to the text box apart from Rogue-] [17] Screenshot of Step 14 -Making the box transparent- [18]

Posting The Map

Step 15 - For those who are uploading as an image file-]This should be easy enough. With whichever part of the map you wish to post, be sure that's on the screen. Zoom in/out if needed. Press print screen. Open up your image editing program, and press Ctrl-V. Save it. Since I only use photobucket, I cannot provide an explanation for other image hosting services. I won't be providing an explanation for any of them. Once you get the image uploaded, however, find the [img] code, copy that, and paste it into the post you wish it to accompany.

Step 16 - For those who are uploading as a .xls or whatever- Underneath the post you wish the file to accompany, scroll down to 'Upload File'. It should be downhill from there.