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How To Make a Map in Minecraft

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Maps make exploring new terrain a little easier. You can mark where you’ve been, where you need to return to, and sometimes find your way home. Minecraft is no different in this respect – the maps in the game are indispensable for keeping track of your surroundings.


How To Make a Map in Minecraft


But Minecraft maps work a little differently than other games, though. Instead of showing where you need to go via an in-game GPS or mini-map, it tells you where you’ve already been. The rare exception is maps looted from chests or obtained via trading.


If that sounds confusing, you’re not alone. Maps in the world of Minecraft take a little getting used to, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you got around without them.


Read on to find out all things map-related in Minecraft. Learn everything from what you need to craft them, how to actually make one, and how to use them once you have them.


How to Make a Map in Minecraft


Minecraft uses a unique mechanic for its map feature. Instead of a static map lodged somewhere in your menu or a GPS mini-map planted in the corner of your screen, Minecraft wants you to go old-school.


Imagine those cartographers who ventured into the wilderness to map new, unexplored lands throughout history. In Minecraft, you’re the cartographer. Instead of having maps instantly available to you, you need to craft them yourself and explore the terrain to “draw” the map yourself.


Required Materials to Make a Map in Minecraft


There are two main components needed to craft maps in Minecraft:


· Paper (9 Sugar Canes)


Even if you just started playing the game, chances are that you’ve come across sugar cane in your explorations. They like water so you’ll find them near lakes, rivers, etc., in different biomes like deserts and swamps.


You craft paper in multiples of three with a one-to-one ratio: one sugar cane makes one piece of paper. But when you use the crafting table, you’ll use three sugar canes for three pieces of paper.


Crafting Paper Layout



  1. Place one piece of sugar cane in the first box of the middle row.

  2. Place another piece of sugar cane in the middle box of the middle row.

  3. Place the final piece of sugar cane in the last box of the middle row.

  4. Drag the resulting three pieces of paper to your inventory.


Do this three times and you’ll end up with nine pieces of paper. You only need eight pieces of paper to craft a map, but you can use the extra ninth piece for a different project.


· Compass (4 Iron Ingots + 1 Redstone Dust)


You’ll also need to craft a compass if you don’t have one already. Both iron ingots and redstone dust are plentiful near the bottom of the world, so it’s time to grab a pickaxe. Just make sure that the pickaxe is an iron one or better. It’s the only way you’ll be able to mine redstone for the compass.


Once you have all the components, you have a two-step process ahead of you to make a compass:


Step One – Crafting Ingots


First, you’ll need to smelt those four iron ore blocks into ingots.



  1. Open the furnace menu.

  2. Add a fuel source to the bottom box.

  3. Add one piece of iron ore to the box above the fuel source.

  4. Wait for the furnace to smelt your iron ore.

  5. Drag your new iron ingots into your inventory.

  6. Repeat the process until you have four ingots.


Step Two – Craft a Compass


Now that you have all the necessary components, it’s time to craft a compass for your map:



  1. Open the crafting table menu.

  2. Place the redstone dust in the center of the grid.

  3. Add the iron ingots in the spaces surrounding the redstone (above, below, left, and right).

  4. Drag and drop the new compass into your inventory.


Crafting a Map in Minecraft


You’ve gathered, mined, crafted, and smelted your resources. Now, you’re ready to make a map. Head to your crafting table and follow these steps:



  1. Open the crafting menu.

  2. Place the compass in the center box in the crafting grid.

  3. Place one piece of paper in each of the empty boxes surrounding the compass, totaling nine paper slots.

  4. Take your empty map and put it in your inventory.


How to Use the Map


You crafted an “empty map” and are ready for your next adventure. The problem is the map is blank and that’s not helpful to you at all. But remember that unique Minecraft mechanic that allows you to create the map as you explore? It’s time to fill in that map of yours.


To use the map, equip it from your inventory. Once you do, you’ll notice lines appear on that previously blank piece of yellowed paper. Your map is coming together right before your eyes.


Wander around and you’ll find that your map fills in the details of your surroundings. You can even see yourself on the map. Just look for the little white marker.



Once you use the map, it won’t be labeled as an “empty map” anymore. Instead, the game assigns it a number so that you can differentiate between filled maps and empty ones.


How to Expand the Map


Did you know that you can expand your map up to four times? Each time you expand a map, you get a “bigger” map with more areas to fill as you explore the landscape.


To start from a “Level 0” or a newly crafted and filled map, check out the process below:



  1. Go to your crafting table and open the menu.

  2. Place your current map in the middle box of the crafting grid.

  3. Place eight pieces of paper in the empty boxes surrounding your map.

  4. Place your newly expanded “Level 1” map into your inventory.


As mentioned before, you can repeat this process up to four times. Each time you expand a map, you may notice blank areas when you equip it. Don’t worry! Those areas fill in with surrounding details as you explore the world.


Additional FAQs


How do I find existing maps in Minecraft?


You can find maps to install in Minecraft online. Some popular websites for downloadable maps include Minecraft Maps and Planet Minecraft. Just remember that you’ll need file archiver software to extract the .zip or .rar files.


How do I download and install maps in Minecraft?


If you’ve found a map you’d like to try out, follow these steps to download and install it in Minecraft:


Step One – Downloading a Map File


Downloading a map file simply involves finding the “Download” button and giving permissions on your computer. Each website is a little different, so the “Download” button may be in a different location depending on the site. Usually, though, it’ll be on the map’s main page.


Step Two – Installing a Map


Once you have the map on your computer, it’s time to extract it and install it into your game. This is a two-part process, but it’s relatively simple.


To extract the necessary files, check out these steps:


1. Open the .zip or .rar file with your file archiver.


2. Look for a folder called “region” and a file called “level.dat” within that folder. If you see the file, extract the folders to your computer’s desktop or custom location.


3. If you don’t see the file listed above, check the folder called, “your_save” for the folder and file listed above. When you locate the correct folder/file, you can extract the entire folder to your computer.


Once you have the folders and files on your computer, it’s time to import them to your game. For this process, you’ll need two locations on your computer: your “.minecraft” folder and the folders/files you just extracted.


1. Go to the extracted map folder on your computer and copy the folder one folder above the one where “region” and “level.dat” are located.


2. Open your “.minecraft” folder. It may be in different locations, depending on your system. Check out these default locations first if you don’t know where to start:


Windows: %APPDATA%\.minecraft


macOS: ~/Library/Application Support/Minecraft


Linux: ~/.minecraft


3. Once you locate the “.minecraft” folder, open the “saves” folder. All your game worlds are stored here.


4. Paste the previously copied map folders into the “saves” folder.


5. Double-check the new folder to make sure both “region” and “level.dat” are located right under the “your_save” folder.


6. If everything is in order, launch the game and look for the new map in your worlds list.


Chart Your World


Before you jump onto your favorite browser to check out all the maps available for download, remember to practice some caution. Use common sense when downloading files from an unknown source and always have your anti-virus check files before opening them on your computer. You may want to explore new worlds, but if you open an infected file, you may be in for more adventure than you bargained for.


Do you download maps for Minecraft, or do you prefer to explore on your own? Let us know in the comments section below.

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