The Microsoft Maps app is packed with useful information. You can use it to find a route between two places, search for businesses in a specific area, or even virtually explore faraway places.
The Maps app in Windows uses Bing Maps, but includes several tools that you can’t use in the browser version of the map service. Here are our top tips and tricks for using the Maps app on Windows 10 and 11.
1. Download offline maps
An internet connection is required for almost all features of the Maps app. So what happens when you travel to a new place and aren’t sure if a reliable network connection is available? you are stuck Unless of course you use offline maps.
All well-known map services, including those from Google and Apple, offer the option of saving maps for offline use. And the Microsoft Maps app is no different. You can download maps for any country or region in the world, and once you’ve done that almost all the major map features are available. Even if there is no internet connection.
- To download maps for offline use, open the Maps app on your Windows computer.
- press the Show more button and then click settings. This opens the Offline Maps section of the main settings.
- click Choose Maps and then download maps. Use the options to find the map for the country or region you want to download.
- Map sizes vary widely depending on the size of the area covered as well as the amount of information it contains.
Not all features are available in Offline Maps and some of the available features are limited. But the important tools like search, route planning and local information are all usable.
To get the most out of the Maps app, you should learn how to properly configure location services.
2. Add your favorite or most visited places
Saving places as favorites on Maps makes it easier to navigate and plan routes. For example, if you save your home address, you can quickly add it in the destination or origin fields. You can also view a location instantly by clicking on it in the favorites list instead of having to search for it or manually scroll the map.
- To add places to your favorites, click Saved Places button in the top right of the Maps app.
- In the Saved Places area, either click one of the preset favorites or click Add a place.
- You can search for an address, a place, or even a business. Or you can click choose place and manually move the map until the circle is over the location.
- When a place is added to favourites, simply selecting it in the Saved Places section will move the map focus to it.
3. Create card books
In addition to saved places, you can also create collections of maps with the Microsoft Maps app. This is a way of grouping points of interest. For example, you can add several restaurants that you want to try in a city that you want to visit. Upon arrival, you’ll find all the information you need in one easy-to-find place. You can even create a collection and share it with someone so they can have it on their computer too.
- To add a new collection, click Saved Places button to open the window. Then click collections.
- Give your collection a name, e.g. B. “Points of interest” and optionally a description.
- click Save on computer and back to the map. You can now start finding things to add to the collection.
- To add a place to a collection, right-click the place and then select Save > [Collection Name].
It’s not just Maps that lets you create Collections. Here’s how to create collections in Microsoft Edge.
4. Draw and write on the map
The Maps app has a number of drawing tools. You can use these to create markers on the map. For example, you can mark a street or circle a certain area to make it easier to find it later. The marks you make on the map persist even after you close the Maps app. The next time you open it, the mark is still there.
You can find the Drawing Tools button in the upper-right corner of the Maps app in the Windows Ink toolbar. Clicking on the pen button in the tools opens a new panel where you can change the color and thickness of the drawn lines.
You can quickly hide anything you’ve drawn on the map by opening the map view window and turning off Windows Ink. Learn more about using Windows Ink in our touchscreen guide.
5. Draw routes on maps
In addition to the pen tools in the Maps app, there is also a drawing tool for routes. Yes, that’s right, you can draw a route on the map and the app will show you the directions for that route. The app corrects the line you draw to snap to roads. That means you can draw a straight line between two places and let the app find the best route.
- Open the drawing tools by clicking the Windows Ink toolbar button at the top right of the Maps app.
- Choose directions tool and then draw your desired route. You can also just draw a straight line between two locations.
- The app creates a route based on the line you draw. If there is more than one possible route, all are shown.
- You can then click on the route you want to view directions, or click Go button to open the guided navigation.
When you find an interesting place on the map, you can save it for later viewing by pinning it to the Start menu. In Windows 10 it appears as a tile and in Windows 11 it is added to pinned apps as a map icon with the place name. How to pin a map location to the start menu.
- First navigate to the location. This can be a restaurant, an attraction, or another location already marked on the map. You can also right click on the map and drop a pin to create a location.
- Click on the location marker or dropped pin and an information window will open.
- press the pin button and then choose either Pin location to Start or Pin the directions to Start.
- The tile or icon is added to the Start menu. Clicking this will open the Maps app in the saved location.
Tips every Maps app user should know
The Maps app included with Windows isn’t just an alternative way to view Bing Maps. It also adds some useful tools that you don’t have access to when using the browser-based maps service. From the ability to save maps for offline use to pinning map locations to the Start menu, there’s more to the Maps app than you might think.