Neatline was developed by the UVA Scholars' Lab as a suite of tools for Omeka, a content management system for users who need to create collections. Neatline allows users to create rich exhibits of visual objects, including maps and images. These exhibits may include extensive interactive annotation. For example, a researcher might use Neatline to demonstrate the effects of deforestation by superimposing historic aerial images of forests over more recent images. The exhibit could then include forestry reports as the user explores the images. Find other demonstrations of Neatline in use at

This guide gives beginners a brief overview of Neatline, but the tool includes many rich features not covered here. Visit for more information and visit for more extensive guides to using Neatline. 

Step-by-Step Guides


Get Started
The Scholars' Lab provides support to students, faculty, and other members of the UVA community who want to use Neatline. Scholars' Lab can help users set up instances of Neatline for courses or personal projects. For class use, it's important to integrate Neatline during the course-designing process. To effectively use Neatline in a course: start as early as possible (at least a month before you need to use Neatline); allocate class time towards completing a Neatline project; set realistic student expectations; and, emphasize function over aesthetics. Note: If you plan to integrate historic maps, begin the work and research early, because historic maps often require permission from the copyright holder.
Create an Exhibit
An exhibit is the highest organization level of a Neatline project. Exhibits can be map-based or image-based. These two types use different base layers for the exhibit: Map exhibits are built on geospatial layers and can use ready-made maps or custom maps (see "My Dear Nelly" at for an example of a map-based exhibit); whereas, image exhibits are built on web-accessible images (see "Our Marathon" at for an example of an image-based exhibit).
View an Exhibit
Neatline is visually interactive. In this way, using the different viewing controls can help users and the public to best apprehend an exhibit and its content.
Customize an Exhibit
Neatline offers a variety of navigation controls and style options for users to design their exhibit for an optimal visualization. See the "Style Tab" under Neatline's documentation for more customization options.
Use Records
A record is the basic unit of a Neatline exhibit. Records can be vector annotations, text annotations, map overlays, images, or any other element included in the exhibit. Neatline records are either located solely within the exhibit or associated with an Omeka item. This guide shows users how to create exhibit-specific records.
Use Plugins
Neatline's plugins and widgets are tools that help customize the design and function of exhibits, facilitating the ways in which users can view and interact with an exhibit's content.

  • No labels