Welcome to the JOSM online help system

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Getting Started

Within this help/wiki

OSM-wiki resources


  • Objects - explains what objects maps consist of and how these objects are described in detail
  • EVERY "button" and menu item may be assigned with hot-key (including menu items provided with plugins; popular presets and saved search queries). Some default hotkeys may surprise editors from iD and Poltrach. All shortcuts will be present "Hotkeys" tab in F12 menu you can adjust and fine-tune them or reset at any moment.
  • Preferences - some of the setting are not acceptable via settings menu or just spread everywhere in the editor
  • Upload changeset - explains why you create a changeset and low level details when you upload data to the OSM server

Workflow examples

  • Audio mapping: playing voice notes and synchronizing them with your GPS tracks in JOSM

JOSM tools


  • Select (S) - contain many modifiers, including lasso mode
  • Search (CTRL+F) - a very powerful tool and a query language with over 28 keywords and flexible operators to combine them in flexible manner. Not to mention regex and mapcss filters.
  • Help/Plugin/UtilsPlugin2#Selection
  • Select non branching way sequences (Shift+W) - useful when editing highways, railways, rivers, powernet works and networks in general
  • Select all (CTRL+A) is more useful after you download precise list of objects


  • Copy (Ctrl+C) - copy selected objects to the buffer
  • PasteTags (Ctrl+Shift+V) - paste previously copied tags
  • Tabular editor (CTRL+T) from (Help/Plugin/UtilsPlugin2)
  • Duplicate (Ctrl+D) not only tags but also their geometries
  • (Shift+R) (from Help/Plugin/UtilsPlugin2) copy tags from previous selection
  • Standard Add value (Alt+A) dialogue provides 5 shortcuts to 5 last used tags without closing this dialogue

Topology tools and changes:

  • Merge (M) two or more points
  • UnGlue (G, opposite of above) explode single point into multiple
  • Join point into a way segment (J)
  • [Help/Action/DisconnectNodeWay DisconnectNodeWay] (Alt+J, opposite of above) disconnect a node from a way segment
  • [Help/Action/AddIntersections AddIntersections] (SHIFT+I) (from Help/Plugin/UtilsPlugin2) - will create nodes at places where current selections intersects (or self intersects)
  • [Help/Action/SplitObject Split geometry by selected line] (Alt+X) (from Help/Plugin/UtilsPlugin2)
  • Split way (P) - split way by a node

Geometry tools (precision in angles):

  • Anglesnapping (A, twice) will ease drawing way segments in 30°, 45°, 60° and 90° degrees
  • Extrude (X, with modifiers) tool will ease drawing of strictly perpendicular segments

Geometry tools (alignment):

  • Align in line (L) will align selected nodes into a line
  • Distribute (Shift+B) as above, but also place them at equal distances
  • Parallel (Shift+P), draw lines parallel and draw nested rectangles quickly

Viewport control:

JOSM interface

default view differs from what experienced users with enabled Help/ExpertMode expect to see Moscow Kremlin was opened using Help/Action/Download dialog; note a few tools at left panel Moscow Kremlin was opened using Help/Action/Download dialog; note more tools at left panel because of Help/ExpertMode we will explain interface elements counterclockwise
Starting screen may be confusing for newcomers, you need to get data first using Download menu Here is what you will see if you choose Moscow Kremlin Additional and more complex tools may be activated with Expert mode (pay attention to the left side of the screen) JOSM interface: 1 - main menu, 2 - main toolbar, 3 - edit toolbar, 4 - status bar, 5 - ..., 6 - toggle dialogs, 7 - Search menu items, 8 - map view. See also Help/JOSM interface customization

JOSM error messages

Last modified 12 days ago Last modified on 2016-01-31T19:46:51+01:00

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