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This way to the party: How to make a map to include on invitations

Lesa Snider | June 8, 2015
Summer is upon us, with plenty of events to plan and maps to make. Providing a quality map with an invitation helps your guests, and your Mac makes them easy to create. Using just three apps--Contacts, Maps and Preview--you can produce a custom map to print or pop into an email. Fire up the grill, because your map is just a few creative clicks away.

Summer is upon us, with plenty of events to plan and maps to make. Providing a quality map with an invitation helps your guests, and your Mac makes them easy to create. Using just three apps — Contacts, Maps and Preview — you can produce a custom map to print or pop into an email. Fire up the grill, because your map is just a few creative clicks away.

Start with Contacts

If your event location is already in your Contacts app (say, a home or a business), find it by typing part of its name into the Contacts app search field. If it isn't there, go ahead and add it.

Click the label next to the address (it typically says home or work) and a shortcut menu appears. Choose Open in Maps, and the Maps app launches and pinpoints the address.

Massaging the map

In the map that appears, your chosen address is clearly marked by a pin and a flag. The flag also displays travel time to the destination, but we'll cover that up using some Preview magic explained later.

First, use the + and - buttons at the bottom-right to find a useful zoom level. Frame it so that major crossroads give your guests a point of reference. To make the street names larger choose View > Labels > Use Large Labels. If the location flag disappears, click the pin to show it again. And if the Directions pane appears, close it by choosing View > Hide Directions (Command-R).

Capture for Preview

To capture a picture of the Maps window, press and hold Shift-Command-4 then tap the Spacebar. The cursor changes to a camera, and when you mouse over the Maps window it highlights in blue.

Annotate in Preview

Find the screen shot file on your desktop — it's named "Screen Shot" followed by the date and time you captured it. Rename it something more useful, like "Map to Apple Store."

Double-click that file to open it in Preview, or drag it onto the Preview app in your dock or in your Applications folder. In Preview, get the Arrow tool by choosing Tools > Annotate > Arrow (Control-Command-A). Then, from the Markup toolbar, click the Shape Style menu and pick a thick line. If the Markup toolbar isn't showing, choose View> Show Markup Toolbar (Shift-Command-A).

Don't worry about getting it exactly right. You can change the width, direction, style and color later by clicking on the arrow and making new choices from the Markup toolbar. For example, to change the color of the arrow, click the Border Color menu just to the right of the Shape Style menu on the Markup toolbar.

 

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