D&D Maps using Spreadsheets
Ever since I first tried DM’ing, I have jumped from one method to another of creating maps for my D&D games. Recently I was using a Google Doc spreadsheet for something and it occured to me that I could use these to make maps.
What it is
I basically set the spreadsheet to be a small squared grid and apply conditional formatting to the entire grid along with a key of what means what. So once it’s set up, if I type a letter ‘T’ in a square, that square turns dark green and now represents ‘Trees’, same as ‘M’ means mountains and turns grey, ‘V’ means village, ‘C’ means city and shows as orange, and so on.
On top of the basic auto-colour coding mentioned above, you can right click any of the squares and ‘insert notes’ which gives you a text box to include any notes you have about that map-space(like a town name and who lives there)
Why it’s awesome
Super simple, hassle free
You can do it anywhere you like without needing any special software or apps (all browsers run google sheets i’m fairly sure). And it’s as easy as typing letters into a spreadsheet.
Can be shared easily
You can share it with friends thanks to the great sharing functions of google, you could even work on it at the same time as someone else(if you’re brave enough to try co-DMing).
You can use the same method for world maps, town maps and dungeon maps. You could even make multiple pages of the documents for different levels of a dungeon.
I know not everyone is as into making spreadsheets as me, so below is a link to an example world map and city map (tabs down the bottom for different pages)
You should be able to click ‘File >> Make a copy’ to copy it and edit it yourself.
Other things you could do
- Hyperlink the letter to a google doc or another page in the spreadsheet
- Use symbols instead of letters, works well for dungeons, you could have slashes for up/down stairs etc.
Let me know
If you use this method please let me know how it goes for you, if you find this article confusing i’d love to hear about it so I can fix it up to make it more useful.