Add a North arrow to a map in Surfer


To draw a floating North arrow on a map in Surfer, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new point object using the Features | Insert | Point command.
  2. Click on the screen where you want the north arrow to be displayed. 
  3. After the point is drawn, press ESC on the keyboard to exit drawing mode.
  4. Select the Point in the Contents window. 
  5. In the Properties window, on the Symbol tab, change the Symbol Set to either GSI Default Symbols or GSI North Arrows.
  6. Select the North arrow symbol you wish in the Symbol field. 
  7. Change the Size to make your north arrow larger and change the Fill color or Line color to fit your needs.
  8. You can rotate the North arrow using Layout | Arrange | Free Rotate | Rotate to make sure it lines up correctly with the North orientation on the map.


To add a North arrow that moves with the map, after performing the steps above:

  1. Select the existing map in the Contents window and click Home | Add to Map | Layer | Empty Base to add an empty base layer to the map.
    1. Note: that this must be done either on a 2D map, or on a 3D map (surface or wireframe) in Orthographic view projection (select Map and click View in the Properties window and be sure the Projection is set to Orthographic).
  2. In the Contents window, click and drag the Point down until your cursor is over top of the Base(vector) layer. The cursor should turn into a black arrow. Release the mouse button to drop the point into the base layer.

Now you can change the rotation or tilt of the map and the north arrow moves with the map. 


Surfer color relief map with north arrow.

Example of north arrow moving when changing the view of the map.


In Surfer 15 and earlier versions, it is not possible to click and drag and object into a base layer.  Instead, the north arrow symbol must be copied and then pasted into the empty base layer. So instead instead of step 2 above, follow these steps:

  1. In the Contents window, click on the Point and press CTRL+C on your keyboard to copy it.
  2. Right click the new Base(vector) layer and click Start Editing
  3. Press CTRL+V on your keyboard to paste the point into the base layer.
  4. Click and drag to move the symbol to the correct location.
  5. When you are finished, right click over the base layer and click Stop Editing.
  6. Delete the Point that is outside of the map in the Contents window.


Updated November 2021

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