ArcMap Layout Solutions
Posted by John Sullivan, Last modified by Erika Rydberg on 20 September 2018 09:52 AM

ArcMap Layout Solutions

There are two routes to take when designing a map for submission, print, poster, etc.  For many tasks, the built-in ArcMap Layout View (located in the lower left corner, toggling from Data View) will provide enough flexibility.  For more complicated tasks, learning basic Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator skills or other large visual layout programs will often save time.  

Navigating Layout View:

  • Use the upper set of magnifying glass tools to resize the contents of your frame. Use the globe tool or full extent tool to fit the all the visual data in the frame on the canvas.
    • The usual zoom tools will be much less useful in layout view, as they will act on the canvas, not the data.  You can set the view percentage back to 80~100 if you get lost, similar to Microsoft Word’s view tool.  
  • Right-click your frame to select Properties of the layout frame - These are not the data properties!  To change opacity, symbology, fields, labels, etc. you must right click the layer, usually on the left of the screen.  
  • Use the uppermost toolbar to insert layout objects. These include scale bars, north arrows, legends, text, etc.  

If you are planning on continuing your layout in a external program, be sure to export scale bars and (sometimes) legends with your map frame as a vector image. These must scale proportionally as vectors in layout, otherwise these elements may become inaccurate. While PDF is a passable choice, SVG or PNG will perform better with most vector graphics programs (i.e. Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape).  

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