How to add a map key and annotate your locator map

This is part of a five-part series on how to create locator maps:

1 – Introduction: How to create a locator map
2 – Move around the map & set the map size
3 – Add markers
4 – Design the map
5 – Annotate & give your map a key

To create a locator map, go to and click on "New Map" and the "Locator map". This will open the locator map creation pipeline. Four steps will lead you to your final map: 1: Add markers, 2: Design map, 3: Annotate and 4: Publish. In this article, we will focus on step 3 and 4.

In step 3: Annotate & Layout, you see two tabs – one for Annotate, one for Layout:Let's look at the options in the Annotate tab first:


In the Annotate tab, you're first asked to give your visualization a title, description, notes, source, byline, and an alternative description for screen readers. You can find a detailed explanation of all these Annotate options here.

Add a key to explain your markers

Our locator maps are not interactive, so there won't be any tooltips in the final version. If you want to give further information about your markers, you can create a key for your markers. 

To do so, click on the little toggle left of the words "Show key".  A few options will appear: 

Let's go through them:

  • Title: You can give your marker key a title, but you don't need to. Often, a key is self-explanatory.
  • Position: You can decide if your marker key should be above or below the actual map.
  • Layout: Here you can choose if your key should be displayed as a grid or as a list. Play around to see what works better. A grid layout usually works best for longer explanations, while the list layout works better for shorter explanations.
  • Min grid column width: If you choose the grid layout, you can decide the width of the columns in the grid here. You essentially decide how many columns will fit next to each other. The wider your column, the less columns will fit side by side. 

    👉Make sure to check the appearance of your map key in the mobile version, too – it will look differently!

Below the marker key options, you can add key elements and add and edit their text. To do so, choose a symbol that you want to explain in your key with clicking on the little black arrow next to an icon: 

You will see all the different symbols that you've created. If you created multiple markers with the same symbol, you will only see this symbol once in the list. 

Add as many items with the "+Add Item" button as you have symbols that you want to explain. (You don't need to explain all markers if it doesn't make sense for your map.)

To change the order of markers in your key, click on the grey arrow-cross left of the key element and drag them below or above another element: 


In the Layout tab, you can select an output locale, change the design theme and footer options, and enable social sharing. Find a detailed explanation of all the Layout options here.


Congratulations you just finished editing your locator map! In the last step, you can publish your work and decide how to share it with the world. The best way to use a Datawrapper chart is by embedding it directly on your website. To do that, click the big blue button that says "Publish Chart". Then, copy & paste the embed code snippet into your website or CMS. 

You can also download your chart as a PNG (available on all subscription plans- free, custom and enterprise) or as a PDF or SVG (available only on custom and enterprise plan).Click here for more information on the different pricing plans of Datawrapper.