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Add and modify grids

A grid is a network of evenly spaced horizontal and vertical lines used to identify locations on a map. You can use grids (Measured or MGRS) to display measured locations using projected coordinates. For example, you can create a grid on a map frame depicting a 10,000-meter grid using the universal transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinate system.

Import map documents with grids

If the layout in yourArcMap document (.mxd) contains a map with a grid it will be included when you import the document to ArcGIS Pro.

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

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

Add grids

Grids 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 then select a grid (Measured or MGRS) from the gallery.
  2. To further modify the grid, in the Contents pane, expand the map frame, right-click Grid, and click Properties.

Modify grid properties

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

  • Name—Change the name and how it appears in the Contents pane.
  • Visible—Check and uncheck the visibility check box to control the display of the grid on the layout.
  • Interval— Automatically adjust the grid intervals based on scale.
  • Origin—Specify a custom coordinate origin of x and y for the grid.
  • Coordinate System—Choose the grid's coordinate system or use one from an existing layer.

By unchecking Automatically adjust on the Options tab Properties, you can change the Interval of x and y for Gridlines, Ticks, Intersection Points, Interior Labels, and Corner Labels on the Components tab Components.

Gridlines, ticks, labels, corner labels, intersection points, and interior labels can also be added or removed on the Components tab Components. The Appearance of each component can be also be altered by choosing its Offset and modifying its Symbol. Labels can be additionally formatted and their display altered.

Visibility for Ticks and Labels can be checked on or off for the cardinal directions of the map. Corner Visibility refers to the labels in the corners of the map frame. All corner labels can be displayed or a sub-set can be specified by turning their visibility on and off. Setting an Interval of 0,0 for Corner Labels will place the labels on the exact corner of your map frame.


For corner labels where the interval has been defined, if the angle of the gridlines are non-perpendicular or non-parallel to the edge of the map frame, you will see multiple corner labels per vertex. Circles, ellipses, and map frames created with the lasso will only have one corner label as the map frame will be defined as one edge.

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

The symbol for the Neat Line can be modified by right-clicking the Grid in the Contents pane and clicking Properties. On the Format Map Grid pane, click the Map Grid drop-down menu and click Neat Line.


The map frame border is often coincident with the grid Neat Line. You may have to adjust the symbology fo the border so they do not conflict.

If you want precise control over each grid item on the layout, you can right-click the grid and Convert To Graphics. Upon converting, the grid will appear 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 their respective Format pane.

Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) labels

In order to add 100,000 meter grid zone labels to the grid, the grid's projected coordinate system needs to be changed to a UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) zone. To do this, on the Contents pane, right-click the grid and Properties. On the Format Map Grid pane, on the Options tab, click to Choose the grid's coordinate system Coordinate System. For best results, set the scale of the map to be larger than 1:100,000. If the scale is below 100,000, offsets may need to be adjusted so the labels appear.

If the scale is properly set and the labels are still not displaying, consider changing their positioning. On the Format Map Grid pane, on the Components tab Components, select the labels, and under Appearance change the Positioning.

Format labels with tags

Labels can be further formatted by using tags to change their display. You can add multiple labels and format them differently to fit your needs.

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



Allows you to designate how many digits of the total place value will be displayed. This includes the place value itself.

For example, if "7,654,321" with the label <dyn type="grid" placeValue="1000.left" digits="3"/> starts at the thousands place ("4") and includes all values to the left of this value until there are 3 total digits, the result would be "654".

The digits tag is ignored when using placeValue.right.




Can be appended to the place value to designate which digits in the label will be displayed. If you want all the digits to the left of the thousands to use .left, placeValue="1000.left". The result also includes the thousands place value.

For example, placeValue="1000.left" for "7,654,321" would result in "7654".

.right does not include the placeValue digit. Therefore, placeValue="1000.right" for "7,654,321" would result in "321".


Place values refer to the numbers in each grid label. For example, for placeValue=10000, you are choosing to display five place values of the full grid label.

For example, placeValue="10000" for the grid label "7,654,321" refers to the ten thousands place, the result being "5".

If you want to display the value at the specified place value include a tag for digits. <dyn type="grid" placeValue="10000" digits="1"/>


Places a comma between thousands.




Units can be designated by feet or meters.


Aligns the label component to the top or bottom most extent of the label as a whole. This is useful when you label has multiple components of varying sizes. Include this tag for each part of the label you want to align.


Displays cardinal direction at the end and adjacent to the value. With this tag there is no space between the value and character signifying direction. If you want a space between the value and direction, use cardinalDir="True".

If you wish to display a negative sign for the West and South values, use showDirections="False".

If you do not want either an adjacent cardinal direction or a negative sign use showDirections="None".


Displays the cardinal direction as a separate element of the label. This enables you to format the cardinal direction differently than the numerical part of the label and allows for a space between the number and direction.

Since there are two tags that can specify direction, showDirections and cardinalDir, and the default setting for showDirections is true, you may need to specify the showDirections tag when using cardinalDir.

For example, specify showDirections="None" will result with the direction at the end of the number with a space between them.

If you do not include showDirections in the label or specify showDirections="True" and have also used cardinalDir, you will display two direction values for each value.

Used in conjunction, the placeValue, left, right, and digits tags can specify parts of the label to be displayed. If the grid label displays as 123,456,789, the following assemblage of tags will provide you a specific result:

<dyn type="grid" placeValue="1000" digits="1"/>


<dyn type="grid" placeValue="1000" digits="2"/>


<dyn type="grid" placeValue="1000.right"/>


<dyn type="grid" placeValue="10000.left"/>


The following examples illustrate the use of the tags:

Example 1: <dyn type="grid" showDirections="False" separator="True"/>

Label example

Example 2:<dyn type="grid" showDirections="none" placeValue="1000000" digits="1"/><FNT size="10"><BOL><dyn type="grid" placeValue="10000" digits="2" vAlign="top"/><BOL></FNT>

Label example

Example 3: <FNT name='Arial' size='8'><BOL><CLR red='168' green='0' blue='0' alpha='255'><dyn type="grid" showDirections="False" separator="False" placeValue="10000" digits="3"/></CLR></BOL></FNT><FNT name='Arial' size='5'><CLR red='178' green='178' blue='178' alpha='255'><dyn type="grid" vAlign="top" placeValue="10000.right" decimalPlaces="0" /></CLR></FNT>

Label example

Example 4:<dyn type="grid" showDirections="none" placeValue="1000000" digits="1"/><FNT size="12"><BOL><dyn type="grid" placeValue="10000" digits="2" vAlign="top"/><BOL></FNT><dyn type="grid" placeValue="10000.right" vAlign="top"/>m.<FNT size="10"><BOL><dyn type="grid" cardinalDir="True" vAlign="top"/></BOL></FNT>

Label example

For a broader review of tags, see Add and modify dynamic text.

Format the symbol of each component

The appearance of each grid component can be formatted like any other symbol or text.

  1. In the Contents pane, if necessary, expand the map frame, and select the grid.

    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 you want to modify from the drop-down menu.

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

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

    The Format Map Grid pane opens.

  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 grids can be saved as styles for later use. To do so:

  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.

Modify a style

Styles can be modified and re-saved. To do so:

  1. In the Catalog pane, expand the Styles folder and right-click the style and click Manage.
  2. In the Catalog view, double-click the style you would like to modify.
  3. Make desired changes to the style's description and properties and then click Apply.

For more information see how to Manage styles.

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