Tutorials: Step by Step

The Step by Step Tutorials are meant to be viewed in order. They help walk a completely new Maptool user through the features of MapTool, starting with the most basic features and then advancing.

Starting MapTool:  Downloading and starting MapTool. Yes an easy thing, but you may find the memory allocation options useful and those are also covered. A couple simple troubleshooting techniques are also, if you are having problems with MapTool.

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Feature Location: Before jumping in and having all the fun with this new program, take a look here. It will probably save you some time. This tutorial covers where you can find various features, settings, and tools.

Resources:  Building a large image library will help you a lot in MapTool. Here is where to start and how to add images to MapTool for use. Where to find written documentation for MapTool. Where to find game system specific frameworks for MapTool.

New Map: Getting that first map started. Setting the correct background. Zooming. Moving around the map. Adjusting the grid size, color, and alignment.

Layers:  Layers is a basic concept that needs to be understood to make and manipulate maps in MapTool. Also, there are a couple layer specific rules that are helpful to know.

Images: Dragging images onto a map. Resizing. Rotation. Player visibility. Notes. MapTool makes images easy so it goes quickly.

Drawing Tools:   The different types of drawing tools and examples of them in use.

Introduction to Tokens:  Creating tokens with TokenTool. Circle, square, and topdown tokens. Moving them around. Facing. States and halos. Resizing. Portraits and character sheets.  Some information needs updating.

Vision and Light part1:  General vision settings. How vision and light interact. Fog of War.

Chat Window and Die Roller:  How to communicate using the chat window and some of it’s basic commands. Also, the basics of how to roll dice in MapTool.

Introduction to Macros:  Meant for those of you with absolutely no coding experience.  First Watch the Chat Window and Die Roller tutorial.  That tutorial combined with this one, should give you enough of a foundation to begin to automate certain aspects of your game.  More in depth tutorials will be coming in the Beyond the Basics series.

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Connecting Computers:  Starting a server. Connecting to the server. Forcing players to the GM’s current view or map. Firewalls and Routers.

Entire Step by Step collection! In one big zip file.  Double click on the files that end in .html to view the videos.


  1. Carlos says:

    Brad, when drawing stuff in a map, is there a way to make the brush a square instead of a circle?

    • brad says:

      Nope the brush is always a circle. The only way to get a square is to use the square drawing tool and fill it with the texture or color.

  2. That's what she (http://www NULL.dndhub NULL.wordpress NULL.com/) says:

    I am hosting a D&D 4e Eberron Campaign, and one of the players just surprised me: “We are going to use Maptools, right?”

    I was like “Yeah, maptools…”

    I once tried to use them but I just couldn’t. This tutorials really help a lot :D much better than other tutorials.

    I just wanted to say nice work! Keep it up! :D

  3. Ken says:

    I just have a quick question. Is there anyway to change the color of the fog of war after a map is already made? or can you only pick the color when creating a new map?


  4. Lee says:

    I am a player in a game that the DM has put in a lot of time creating a very intricate dungeon in Maptool 1.3.b63. The dungeon is complex and fun, and Maptool has been great in giving us fog of war and line of sight. However, the tool seems incredibly slow to respond, it would take anywhere between 3~10 seconds just to select/deselect any token, moving is another long wait.

    Are there any known common pitfalls that DMs may fall into that would cause such awful lag?


    • brad says:

      Here are a couple things that often help, if not post on the rptools.net forum for more help.

      -Memory allocation. Is your map running at near your max memory allocation(covered in Starting MapTool). If so raise it.

      -Don’t draw VBL(vision blocking) circles. Use the rectangle tool or draw an X with the line tool. It take a lot more CPU to calculate vision off of a curve then a corner.

      -A side note. Drawing an X is both aesthetically and functionally nice. It blocks vision and lets the black fog of war be revealed for things like columns and other obstacles.

      -Limit the area that MapTool has to calculate vision. Also you can develop little 2 or 3 pixel vision leaks as you draw that can mess with calculations. You won’t even realize they are there, but some VBL connection just might not be perfect. Limit both of these issues easily by just using the hollow rectangle tool to draw around the map area. This sort of cages in the map, limiting the area that MapTool needs to calculate vision, as well as stopping any of those little random leaks in connecting VBL lines.

      Those usually do it for me. Also if the map is being hosted off of a really old computer. Some little single core or something, that could be an issue. Player computers can typically be dirt old, as long as they have enough ram.

      • Lee says:

        Thank you! I will relay that to my GM. I am suspecting it’s the extra calculation that is the culprit, as his dungeon is HUGE!

        • brad says:

          If it is really huge, he might think about putting different sections of the dungeon on different maps. That would help both with memory usage and the amount of VBL that the computer has to deal with. Just making sure he realizes that 1 campaign file can contain multiple maps. There is no easy way to chunk up and separate an already made huge map though, so that is more of an idea for future expansion. For now what might have an immediate impact is using the hollow rectangle VBL to chunk things up, should you be experiencing vision leakage.

  5. J. Johnson says:

    Hi. I’m having a problem with the tokens. If I input information in the notes (either one), it doesn’t show up when I hover over the token. Help!

    • brad says:

      Notes in tokens will not show up on hover. You have to double click and open the token. Notes on images in the other layers(object and background) will show up on hover. You can put some information into the token’s Label field and that will show up on hover. Or you can put information in the Stat Sheet. You could make properties Notes1, Notes2, and so on and have them pop up in the Stat Sheet.

    • brad says:

      Oh and while I have no problem answering questions, when you ask them here you will probably only get a response from me. If you ask them on the rptools.net forum you will have more brains to pick.

  6. J says:

    Wheres the Light part 2 tutorial at?

    • brad says:

      Due to a combination of computer and real life issues I have had to put making the tutorials on hold since November. Right now it looks like things will be settling down in May sometime and I can start plugging away again sometime in June. I didn’t get part 2 done before things went on hold.

  7. Eric says:

    Can we download the videos anywhere or are they streaming only?

  8. MoosePasteInventor says:

    Just thought I’d like to mention that in the “New Maps” tutorial you said that the hot key for Zoom Out was period, but it’s actually minus. Other than that these tutorials are great. Thanks!

  9. brad says:

    Sorry Kim. Looks like I copied in some of the links incorrectly. Fixing now.

  10. You Kim says:

    Is it only me that i can’t see the video?

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