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Add and modify graticules

Graticules show location in geographic coordinates (degrees of latitude and longitude) in layouts. Graticules from existing ArcMap documents (.mxd files) can be imported into ArcGIS Pro and further modified. For example, display of the graticule gridlines, ticks, and labels can be rearranged and their appearance can be altered.

Once a graticule has been defined, you can save the definition as a style to use with other layouts. For more information, see Add styles to a project.

Import map documents with graticules

If the layout in your ArcMap document (.mxd) contains a map with a graticule, the graticule will be included when you import the document to ArcGIS Pro.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Project group, click Import Map Import Map.
  2. On the Import dialog box, browse to the ArcMap document (.mxd) and click OK.

The lines, ticks, hatches, and coordinate labels of the graticules are displayed on the layout. Graticules and their components can be accessed in the Contents pane by right-clicking the name of the graticule under Grids and clicking Properties.

Add graticules

Graticules can be added to your map frames and modified to meet your requirements.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Map Frames group, click Grid Grid and choose a graticule from the gallery.
  2. To modify the graticule, in the Contents pane, under the map frame, right-click the graticule, and click Properties.

Modify graticule properties

In the Format Map Grid pane, the following Options for the graticule can be set:

  • Name—Change the name and how it appears in the Contents pane.
  • Visible—Control the visibility display for the graticule on the layout.
  • Interval—Automatically adjust the graticule intervals based on scale.
  • Origin—Specify a custom coordinate origin of longitude and latitude for the graticule.
  • Neatline—Adjust the symbol for the border defining the geographic data extent of the map.
  • Define map grid edges—Specify the edges and corners of the map frame for detailed labeling.
  • Preview edges and corners—Show where the defined edges and corners are on the map frame.

The map frame border is often coincident with the grid neatline. To avoid an overlap, adjust the symbology for the border.

Map grid edges are used for precise control of label, tick, and corner visibility on the grid, allowing you to turn these components on or off for each edge. By default, every vertex of a map frame is a corner, and every line connecting two vertices is an edge. For complex map frames, you can reduce the number of edges and corners by changing these definitions. Setting the Minimum length will combine edges shorter than the value into one longer edge, eliminating the edges and corners in between.

The Components tab Components allows you to add, remove, reorder, and modify graticule components. Under Appearance, you can alter the appearance of each component by setting an Offset and modifying the Symbol. Other component-specific properties can also be set. The components for graticules are as follows:

  • Gridlines—Lines that comprise the graticule
  • Ticks—Linear marks at the edge of the graticule
  • Labels—Text showing graticule coordinates at a specific interval, drawn outside the graticule
  • Corner Labels—Text showing graticule coordinates at the graticule vertices
  • Intersection Points—Points showing where gridlines cross
  • Interior Labels—Text showing graticule coordinates at a specific interval, drawn inside the graticule

Uncheck Automatically adjust on the Options tab Properties, to change the Interval of latitude and longitude for Gridlines, Ticks, Intersection Points, Interior Labels, and Corner Labels.

Ticks and Labels can be shown on the grid for the cardinal points of the map by checking or unchecking each direction. Alternatively, by checking Define map grid edges on the Options tabProperties, you can show Ticks and Labels for the cardinal points of the map, per map frame edge. For example, if the top edge of your grid was showing both North and East labels, you could select the top edge and uncheck East. The East labels would turn off for the top edge, while continuing to display on the other edges. If you had not defined map grid edges, unchecking East would turn off all East labels. To see the edges, check Show edge visibility indicators and numbered buttons appear on each edge. You can select an edge by clicking the button or choosing the corresponding number from the list in the pane.

Corner Labels show the coordinates of a graticule vertex. They can be shown for each corner in the map frame, or for selected corners only. Setting Interval to 0,0 for Corner Labels places the labels on the exact corner of the map frame; increasing the interval sets the label outside of the graticule vertex. Every corner label has two values that comprise the coordinate. One, or both, of these can be displayed by checking or unchecking North-South and East-West. By default, every vertex of the map frame is considered a corner. If the number of corners is too high to work with, check Define map grid edges on the Options tabProperties and increase the Minimum length to reduce the number of corners. To see the corners, check Show corner visibility indicators and numbered buttons appear on each corner. You can select a corner by clicking the button or choosing the corresponding number from the list in the pane.


For corner labels where the interval has been defined, if the angle of the gridlines is nonperpendicular or nonparallel to the edge of the map frame, there will be multiple corner labels per vertex. Circles, ellipses, and map frames created with the Lasso option only have one corner label because the map frame is defined as one edge.

Interior Labels, by default, are placed in the middle of the gridline. By choosing 1/2 1/2, 1/3 1/3, or 1/4 1/4 under Positioning, you are changing the placement of labels on the graticule. The spacing between the number and the gridline can be increased or decreased using the increments of the X & Y Gaps option.

If you want precise control over each graticule item on the layout, you can right-click the graticule and use Convert To Graphics. Once converted, the graticule appears as a grouped element in the Contents pane. To make changes to one or several grid graphics, expand the grouped element and select the text, line, or lasso graphic. Changes to each graphic can be made in its respective Format pane.


To cancel the drawing of a highly dense graticule, turn the graticule off in the Table of Contents.

Format labels with tags

Labels are formatted using tags to change their display. You can add multiple labels and format them differently.

  1. In the Contents pane, if necessary, expand the map frame, right-click the graticule and click Properties.
  2. In the Format Map Grid pane, click the Components tab Components, and select Labels.
  3. In the Format text box, modify your labels using tags.

The following tags are common to Decimal Degrees, Decimal Minutes, and Degrees Minutes Seconds. To use the tags below, follow the example syntax with True or False.



Shows the number of decimal places.

directionSeparator=" "

Separates number and direction.


Functions the same as zeroPad.


Always shows two digits in degree values for latitudes and three digits in degree values for longitudes.


Always shows two digits in minute values.


Always shows two digits in second values.


True shows N, S, E, or W direction. False does not show direction but does show a negative sign if applicable. None does not show direction or a negative sign.


Shows positive sign when showDirections is set to "None" or "False".


Removes the degree, minute, or second symbol.


Shows or hides the minutes value. If the minutes value is zero, the zero can be added or removed by following the syntax with True or False.


Shows or hides the seconds value. If the seconds value is zero, the zero can be added or removed by following the syntax with True or False.


Always shows decimalPlaces numbers to the right of the decimal point.

For a broader review of tags, see Modify dynamic text.

The following examples demonstrate how these tags can used to modify labels.

Example 1: Degrees with three decimal places and the cardinal point. directionSeparator is any string between the value and the letter denoting the cardinal point. In the example, directionSeparator is a space.

<dyn type="grid" units="dd" decimalPlaces="3" zeroPad="True" showDirections="True" directionSeparator=" "/>.

Label example

Example 2: Degrees with three decimal places. showDirections = "False" instructs the labels not to use letters for the cardinal point. A minus sign is used in front of South and West values.

<dyn type="grid" units="dd" decimalPlaces="3" zeroPad="True" showDirections="False"/>.

Label example

Example 3: Degrees with three decimal places. showSymbol = "False"/> removes the degree symbol from the label.

<dyn type="grid" units="dd" decimalPlaces="3" zeroPad="True" showDirections="False" showSymbol="False"/>.

To italicize decimals, a font that supports italic (Arial, for example) is required. Tags that italicize both the degree integer and the decimal value have been added to the example.

Label example

Example 4: Degrees, minutes, and seconds. The minutes and seconds have been italicized in blue and set at a smaller size and aligned to the top of the degree value. To italicize elements in the label, a font that supports italic (Arial, for example) is required.

<dyn type ="grid" units="dms.deg"/>°<CLR blue="200"><FNT name="Arial" size="5"><ITA><dyn type="grid" vAlign="top" units="dms.min" showZeroMinutes="True"/>'<dyn type="grid" units="dms.sec" showZeroSeconds="true" zeroPad="True" decimalPlaces="0" vAlign=top"/>"</ITA></FNT></CLR>

Label example

Example 5: Degrees, minutes, and two decimal places. The degree integer and symbol have been separated into two tags. The showZeroMinutes tag is set to True to display minutes. zeroPad is set to True to display two decimal places.

<dyn type="grid" units=""/><dyn type="grid" units="ddm.deg.sym"/><FNT size="4"><dyn type="grid" vAlign="bottom" units="ddm.min" showZeroMinutes="true" zeroPad="true" decimalPlaces="2"/></FNT>.

Label example

Format the symbol of each component

The appearance of each graticule component can be formatted the same way as others symbols or text.

  1. In the Contents pane, expand the map frame and select the graticule.

    The Format contextual tab appears at the top of the application.

  2. On the Format tab, in the Current Selection group, select the individual component to modify from the drop-down menu.

    Depending on the selection, you can change the symbol or text symbol.

  3. To make more detailed changes to components of the graticule, in the Contents pane, right-click the graticule and select Properties.

    The Format Map Grid pane appears.

  4. In the Format Map Grid pane, on the Components tab Components, under Appearance, you can further modify the symbol.

Save to a style

Customized graticules can be saved as styles for later use as shown in the following steps:

  1. In the Contents pane, right-click the graticule and select Save to Style.
  2. Provide entries for Name, Category, and Tags and click OK.

For more information, see Styles.

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