How to show symbols on choropleth maps

Choropleth maps have a big disadvantage: You can only show one value per region. Symbol maps can show two values – one for symbol size, e.g. population, and one for symbol color, e.g. share of students – but are not often the best choice for your data. Is there a way to bring symbols on choropleth maps? 

It's not possible to combine Datawrapper symbol and choropleth maps. But there is a way to show same-sized, black, non-interactive, differently-shaped symbols in the center of your choropleth map regions. Like so:

The trick is to upload a column filled with Unicode symbols, then select this column as the label column and turn off Prevent overlapping symbols. Here's how to do this in detail:

How to show symbols on choropleth maps


First, prepare the data. To do so, add a new column (e.g. called "Label") and place your Unicode symbol in there. Here's a selection of Unicode symbols that might be useful for your map:

▲  ▼  ●  ★  ✱  ⦿  ←  →
You can find a lot more symbols on

Two tips:

Don't overdo it. It'll be hard for your readers to differentiate between multiple symbol shapes, so maybe just use one or two.
You don't need to show a symbol on each region. You can leave cells in your column empty to not show any label at all, e.g. to just show the districts where the unemployment rate went up.


Now, create a new choropleth map, choose your basemap, and add your data set as you're used to.


Go to step 3: Visualize and then to the Annotate tab.There, look for the Map labels settings and select your label column with the Unicode symbols that you prepared.

Turn off Prevent label overlapping to make all symbols visible on your map, even when they're overlapping. 


And that's it! Your Unicode symbols will now show up on your map.

How to combine symbols and labels

You can mix Unicode symbols with labels like in this map:

To achieve that, prepare a column with the HTML line break <br> between the symbol and the label. 

To learn how to do this in an automatic way, read our Academy article "How to display both label and value on choropleth maps". It covers a very similar idea.