Styling

A style tells Google Earth how to render a feature. For more information on styling please see KML Reference.

Concept

Every feature can have a simplekml.Style that tells Google Earth how to render it. A simplekml.Style can have different ‘substyles’: simplekml.IconStyle, simplekml.IconStyle, simplekml.LineStyle, simplekml.PolyStyle, simplekml.BalloonStyle and simplekml.ListStyle.

In simplekml a feature, by default, has no style, but as soon as you assign a value to one of the feature’s simplekml.Style‘s properties the style is automatically created. In the generated KML the style becomes a child of the containing element (simplekml.Document, simplekml.Folder, etc). Here is an example:

from simplekml import Kml

kml = Kml()
fol = kml.newfolder("A Folder")
pnt = fol.newpoint(name="Kirstenbosch", coords=[(18.432314,-33.988862)])
pnt.style.labelstyle.color = 'ff0000ff'  # Red
kml.save("singlestyle.kml")

With the resulting generated KML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" xmlns:gx="http://www.google.com/kml/ext/2.2" xmlns:kml="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:xal="urn:oasis:names:tc:ciq:xsdschema:xAL:2.0">
    <Document id="feat_1">
        <Folder id="feat_2">
            <Style id="stylesel_0">
                <LabelStyle>
                    <color>ff0000ff</color>
                    <colorMode>normal</colorMode>
                    <scale>1</scale>
                </LabelStyle>
            </Style>
            <name>A Folder</name>
            <Placemark id="feat_3">
                <name>Kirstenbosch</name>
                <styleUrl>#stylesel_0</styleUrl>
                <Point id="geom_0">
                    <coordinates>18.432314,-33.988862,0.0</coordinates>
                </Point>
            </Placemark>
        </Folder>
    </Document>
</kml>

Above we created a simplekml.Point inside of a simplekml.Folder and then changed the color of the point’s label by typing pnt.style.labelstyle.color = ‘ff0000ff’. This resulted in a folder containing a simplekml.Placemark with a point as a child element. The placemark also contains a reference to the simplekml.Style <styleUrl>#stylesel_0</styleUrl>, which is a child of the folder with a labelstyle as a child.

The above is fine if we are dealing with one or to features, but if we are dealing with thousands of points the generated KML becomes very bloated, because every time you access a features style’s properties a new style is created. Just imagine we modified the above to do the following:

from simplekml import Kml

kml = Kml()
fol = kml.newfolder(name="A Folder")
for lon in range(-180, 180, 10):
    for lat in range(-180, 180, 10):  # 10 Degree grid of points
        pnt = fol.newpoint(name="{0},{1}".format(lon, lat), coords=[(lon,lat)])
        pnt.style.labelstyle.color = 'ff0000ff'  # Red

kml.save("manystyles.kml")

And the generated KML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" xmlns:gx="http://www.google.com/kml/ext/2.2" xmlns:kml="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:xal="urn:oasis:names:tc:ciq:xsdschema:xAL:2.0">
    <Document id="feat_1">
        <Folder id="feat_2">
            <Style id="stylesel_0">
                <LabelStyle>
                    <color>ff0000ff</color>
                    <colorMode>normal</colorMode>
                    <scale>1</scale>
                </LabelStyle>
            </Style>
            <Style id="stylesel_1">
                <LabelStyle>
                    <color>ff0000ff</color>
                    <colorMode>normal</colorMode>
                    <scale>1</scale>
                </LabelStyle>
            </Style>
            <Style id="stylesel_2">
                <LabelStyle>
                    <color>ff0000ff</color>
                    <colorMode>normal</colorMode>
                    <scale>1</scale>
                </LabelStyle>
            </Style>

            ... many, many lines of kml go here

        </Folder>
    </Document>
</kml>

The above was abbreviated a bit because the KML contains (2*180/10)^2 styles (one for each of the points we created, which is 1296 styles). As you can imagine, the resulting KML file will be quite huge!

To make the KML much smaller we can create a ‘shared’ style and associate it with each feature:

from simplekml import Kml, Style

kml = Kml()

fol = kml.newfolder(name="A Folder")

sharedstyle = Style()
sharedstyle.labelstyle.color = 'ff0000ff'  # Red

for lon in range(-180, 180, 10):
    for lat in range(-180, 180, 10):  # 10 Degree grid of points
        pnt = fol.newpoint(name="{0},{1}".format(lon, lat), coords=[(lon,lat)])
    # pnt.style.labelstyle.color = 'ff0000ff'  # (Bad!) This results in (2*180/10)^2 styles
        pnt.style = sharedstyle                # (Much better!) This results in a single styles

kml.save("sharedstyle.kml")

And the KML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<kml xmlns="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:atom="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom" xmlns:gx="http://www.google.com/kml/ext/2.2" xmlns:kml="http://www.opengis.net/kml/2.2" xmlns:xal="urn:oasis:names:tc:ciq:xsdschema:xAL:2.0">
    <Document id="feat_1">
        <Folder id="feat_2">
            <Style id="stylesel_0">
                <LabelStyle>
                    <color>ff0000ff</color>
                    <colorMode>normal</colorMode>
                    <scale>1</scale>
                </LabelStyle>
            </Style>
            <name>A Folder</name>
            <Placemark id="feat_3">
                <name>-180,-180</name>
                <styleUrl>#stylesel_0</styleUrl>
                <Point id="geom_0">
                    <coordinates>-180,-180,0.0</coordinates>
                </Point>
            </Placemark>
            <Placemark id="feat_4">
                <name>-180,-170</name>
                <styleUrl>#stylesel_0</styleUrl>
                <Point id="geom_1">
                    <coordinates>-180,-170,0.0</coordinates>
                </Point>
            </Placemark>

            ... many, many more points (1294 to be exact)

        </Folder>
    </Document>
</kml>

Now this is much better! We only have one style at the beginning of the KML followed by all the points. What happened here is that a ‘shared’ style was created by creating an instance of the simplekml.Style class sharedstyle = Style(), then the style’s properties were changed and finally the sharedstyle was assigned to each point’s style property.

In summary, there are two ways to style: changing the properties of an individual feature and creating a ‘shared’ style and assigning it to all the relevant features.

Note

There is a ‘shorthand’ method when dealing with changing the properties of an individual feature. The following ‘longhand’ line of code:

pnt.style.labelstyle.color = 'ff0000ff'  # Red

is the same as this ‘shorthand’ version:

pnt.labelstyle.color = 'ff0000ff'  # Red

This helps to eliminate the need to type .style every time you need to change a style’s property, as well as, reducing the size of your script. But, the shorthand makes the code less readable. It is suggested that you use the long hand method.

Styling a Point

A simplekml.Point has two ‘substyles’ that can be altered to render it: simplekml.IconStyle and simplekml.LabelStyle. To change a point’s style simply assign a value to one of its properties:

pnt = kml.newpoint(name="Kirstenbosch", coords=[(18.432314,-33.988862)])
pnt.style.labelstyle.color = 'ff0000ff'  # Red

That changed the text “Kirstenbosch” to red. See the KML Reference for the format of the color string (you could also use the simplekml.Color class). Now lets edit some more of the style:

pnt.style.labelstyle.scale = 2  # Text twice as big
pnt.style.iconstyle.color = 'ffff0000'  # Blue
pnt.style.iconstyle.scale = 3  # Icon thrice as big
pnt.style.iconstyle.icon.href = 'http://maps.google.com/mapfiles/kml/shapes/info-i.png'

Styling a LineString

A simplekml.LineString has one ‘substyle’ that can be altered to render it:

lin = kml.newlinestring(name="Pathway", description="A pathway in Kirstenbosch",
                        coords=[(18.43312,-33.98924), (18.43224,-33.98914),
                                (18.43144,-33.98911), (18.43095,-33.98904)])
lin.style.linestyle.color = 'ff0000ff'  # Red
lin.style.linestyle.width= 10  # 10 pixels

Styling a Polygon

A simplekml.Polygon has two ‘substyles’ that can be altered to render it: simplekml.LineStyle and simplekml.PolyStyle. Below is code for a simplekml.Polygon without a border that is slightly transparent:

pol = kml.newpolygon(name="Atrium Garden",
                     outerboundaryis=[(18.43348,-33.98985), (18.43387,-33.99004),
                                      (18.43410,-33.98972), (18.43371,-33.98952),
                                      (18.43348,-33.98985)],
                     innerboundaryis=[(18.43360,-33.98982), (18.43386,-33.98995),
                                      (18.43401,-33.98974), (18.43376,-33.98962),
                                      (18.43360,-33.98982)])
pol.style.polystyle.color = '990000ff'  # Transparent red
pol.style.polystyle.outline = 0

Styling MultiGeometry

Applying a style to MultiGeometry applies the style to all the individual geometries in that MultiGeometry collection. Therefore, styling multigeometry is the same as styling normal geometry:

from simplekml import Kml
kml = Kml()
multipnt = kml.newmultigeometry(name="Points")
for lon in range(4):
    for lat in range(4):
        multipnt.newpoint(coords=[(lon,lat)])
multipnt.style.labelstyle.color = 'ff0000ff'  # Red