Adding Information to your Map

A map in itself conveys a lot of useful information. It shows you the lay of the land, the location of terrain features, the names of various locations, and so on. But you often have lots of additional information that doesn’t fit on the map itself, such as GM-only information about the traps in the dungeon, lore information about the different places, statistics, and so on. All of this is things you may wish to have at your fingertips when using the map. So, let us explore various ways you can easily provide extra information with a map.

Map Notes

CC3+ has a built-in system for storing notes along with your map. These are not visible in the map itself, but embedded in the map file, and can be brought up when needed.

To access the list of map notes, either click the Map Notes button on the toolbar, or select Drawing Properties from the File menu and then hit the Map Notes button in the dialog. This will bring up a dialog showing the list of all map notes for this map. From here, you can select any map note and click OK to show that map note, or you can hit edit to change it. You can also create new map notes from here.

Map notes can be used to store any text you want but be aware that these notes only store plain text, they do not support any kind of formatting. They support a reasonable amount of text, about 1400 words each. You can use as many notes as you wish however, so if you have a lot of text to add, you can divide it up over multiple notes.

When you look in the note dialog, you may notice some preexisting notes named OnNewMacro, OnOpenMacro, Resize and Template. Three of these are used by CC3+ when you start a new map, while OnOpenMacro contains macro commands that run every time you load the map (This is how CC3+ displays the correct toolbars among other things). You should just ignore these notes and leave them be.

(more information about map notes)


You can also make map notes more easily accessible by creating a clickable hotspot in your map. Such a hotspot can be placed anywhere in your map and are invisible clickable zones.

To create a hotspot that displays a map note, Select Tools -> Macros -> Make Hotspot. CC3+ will then pop up a text edit dialog, where you need to add the following text (macro command):


Note the semicolon at the end, it is required for the hotspot to work properly. Once you click OK, CC3+ will ask you (watch the command line) to place your hotspot in the map by placing two corners. This will create a visible rectangle in your map with some text below it, but it will be invisible the next time you start CC3+ (you can also manually show/hide hotspots(hyperlinks) from the view menu). When you click in this area (you should see the mouse pointer change to a hand cursor when over the hotspot) the map note will be shown. Note that if you don’t have a note with the name you specified, nothing will happen at all, so make sure you spell it correctly.

External Documents

Sometimes the embedded map notes are not adequate for the task. Perhaps you need more text contained in a single entity, or you need formatting or embedded images. You can use any kind of document for this (for example plain text files, word processor files, pdf documents, spreadsheets, presentations or images), as long as you can double-click on the file in Windows File Explorer to open it in the correct editor, it can also be opened from CC3+.

Of course, external files like these require that the appropriate viewer is installed on the computer, so if you plan on distributing the maps to others or use them on different computers, those computers will need to have that software installed, so keep that in mind when deciding on the file type to use.

When using external files, I strongly recommend storing them in the same folder as your map, as this makes linking to them easier. Once you link the document to your map, it is also important that you keep the external file in the same location relative to the map, keeping them in the same folder is an easy way to accomplish that. And remember to put them in this folder before you move on and create the link below, the link won’t be automatically updated if you move the file afterwards.

To create a link in your map to the document, activate Tools -> Hyperlinks -> Link with file. This brings up a browse dialog where you can browse to the file, and once you select the file and click open, CC3+ will ask you to place the hotspot in the map by placing two corners.

As already explained under hotspots above, the link will be visible for now, but will turn invisible the next time you start CC3+. For now, there is one extremely important thing you need to check, and that is the path to the file. Below the hotspot rectangle, you’ll see the command, it should read something like

OPENDOC $myfile.pdf;

Notice the filename here, it is simply the name of the file with a $-sign in front (assuming the file is in the same folder as the map). If it looks like this, everything is ok. The $-sign here references the folder the map is store in, so in this example CC3+ is told to open the file myfile.pdf stored in the same folder as the map. However, sometimes CC3+ inserts the absolute path to the file, and you may end up with a command like this instead:

OPENDOC C:\Users\Monsen\Documents\Maps\myfile.pdf;

This may be fine if you never move the map folder or copy it to another computer, but if you ever do that, this link will stop working. So, we wish to convert it to a relative path like the one from the previous paragraph.

Again, we assume that the file is in the same folder as the map. Use the Numeric Edit command on the hotspot (click the border of the rectangle, not the hotspot text) to bring up the edit dialog, then simply replace the entire path (C:\Users\Monsen\Documents\Maps\ in the example) with a single $-sign. The result should look exactly like the first example. Now, the path is changed to a relative path, and the link will always work, as long as you copy the map and document as a pair when you change the location or give them to someone else.

If you prefer, you can also make the hotspot manually as we did with the map notes earlier, instead of using the browse dialog Link with File gives you. If so, simply type in the command and the correct filename.

(more information about map links) (more information about file paths)

Web Pages

A popular way of presenting information today is through web pages, and with CC3+ you can also easily make a link to a web page. This can be especially nice if you distribute the maps to your players, you can then link to a web page instead of distributing additional files. The great thing about web pages is that it is easier to divide the information into multiple subpages and link directly to the appropriate page instead of an all-in-one information source like a document tend to be.

To link to a web page, the procedure is exactly the same as described for making a hotspot to open a map note, but the command should instead be:


Note that when specifying the URL here, don’t forget to include the http(s):// at the beginning of the URL, this is what identifies it as an URL in the first place.

(There is a different command for opening URLs called SHOWURL, but there is currently a bug with this command, it will be fixed in the next CC3+ update, but STARTM does the job fine too)

One Response to “Adding Information to your Map”

  1. Very useful information. Thank you very much, Remy 🙂