Introduction to export a map or layout

After you've created a map or layout, you can export it as a file to share with others. To export, make sure a map or layout view is active. On the Share tab, click Map Export or Layout Export, depending on the active view to open the Export pane. Set a name and location for the file, and any other properties, and click Export.


Once the Export pane is open, you can switch between map and layout views to export them without having to reset properties.

Export file types

There are 12 export file types available, including both vector and raster formats. The vector formats are AIX, EMF, EPS, PDF, SVG, and SVGZ, which support a mixture of vector and raster data. The raster formats are BMP, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, TGA, and GIF. They are solely raster export formats and automatically rasterize any vector data in your map or layout.

Each format has different properties that can be set before exporting. For example, PDF provides enhanced security options, and all the vector formats support rasterizing all the data using the Output as image option. The following table outlines each format, and each format name is linked to the page explaining the properties available for that format:

File formatDescription

AIX (Adobe Illustrator Exchange)

AIX files are used with the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud extension. With the extension, vector and raster map content is converted into editable, layered artwork for an improved editing experience in Adobe Illustrator. Once opened in Illustrator, the file can be used for high-end graphic design or map finishing workflows and migrated across the other Adobe Creative Cloud applications.

BMP (Microsoft Windows bitmap)

BMP files are native Windows raster images. BMPs can store pixel data at several bit depths and can be compressed using the lossless RLE method. BMP images are typically much larger than formats such as JPEG or PNG.

EMF (Windows Enhanced Metafile)

EMF are useful for embedding in Windows documents because the vector portions of the EMF can be resized without loss of quality. However, since EMF does not support font embedding and is exclusively a Windows format, it is not commonly used as an interchange format between users.

EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)

EPS files use the PostScript page description language to describe vector and raster objects. PostScript is the publishing industry standard for high-end graphics files, cartography, and printing. EPS files can be edited in many drawing applications or placed as a graphic in most page layout applications. EPS files support font embedding and can define colors in CMYK or RGB values.

GIF (Graphic Interchange Format)

GIF files are a legacy raster format for use on the web. GIFs cannot contain more than 256 colors (8 bits per pixel), which, along with optional lossless RLE or LZW compression, makes them smaller than other file formats. Like PNG, GIF files also have the ability to define a transparent color. GIFs can be generated with an accompanying world file for use as georeferenced raster data.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

JPEG files are compressed image files. They support 24-bit color and have been a popular choice for use on the web because JPEG file size is often substantially smaller than many other image formats. However, the JPEG compression algorithm is lossy and is not recommended for many map images, as line drawings and text or iconic graphics become blurred by compression artifacts. Thus, PNG is usually a superior format for map images. JPEGs can be generated with an accompanying world file for use as georeferenced raster data.

PDF (Portable Document Format)

PDF files are designed to be consistently viewable and printable across different platforms. They are commonly used for distributing documents on the web, and the format is now an official ISO standard for document interchange. PDFs are editable in many graphics applications and retain map georeference information, annotation, labeling, and feature attribute data. PDF exports support font embedding.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

PNG is a versatile raster format that can be displayed in web browsers and inserted into other documents. It supports high-bit-depth color and uses a lossless compression. For maps, PNG is often the best raster format, since the lossless compression keeps text and line work legible by preventing the compression artifacts that can occur in JPEG format. PNG files also have the ability to define a transparent color; part of the image can be displayed as transparent in a web browser, allowing backgrounds, images, or colors to show through. PNGs can be generated with an accompanying world file for use as georeferenced raster data.

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)

SVG is an XML-based file format that has been specifically designed for viewing on the web. SVG can contain both vector and raster information. Some web browsers may require a plug-in to view SVG files; older browsers may not be able to view SVG files at all. SVG supports font embedding. You can also choose to produce compressed SVG files. The file extension changes to *.svgz when this option is enabled.

TGA (Truevision Graphics Adapter)

TGA files have historically been used for content that is meant to be used in other applications (for example, image sprites for animated games) and is read and written by many popular graphic arts applications. It supports multiple bit depths including 32 bit with alpha (transparency) support.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)

TIFF files are the best choice for importing into image editing applications and are also a common GIS raster data format. However, they cannot be natively viewed by a web browser. TIFFs also support georeferencing information in GeoTIFF tags or in a separate world file for use as raster data.


BMP, PNG, and JPEG file types don't support the CMYK color model. If your layout or map is in this color model, the RGB color model is used in the export.

Export a map

Maps can be exported from an open map view only. The map view determines the extent and scale of the exported map, but you can set the export size in pixels. In the Export pane, set the Width and Height properties. To preserve the aspect ratio when changing the width or height, click the Preserve Aspect Ratio button Preserve Aspect Ratio to lock the aspect ratio. When the aspect ratio is locked, changing the width automatically changes the height, and vice versa, to preserve the ratio.

Since the aspect ratio of the screen may not match the aspect ratio of the export, the map may be cropped. For example, if the map view is 1920x1080 pixels and the export is set to 200x200 pixels, content to the left and right is cropped in the export. You can preview the adjusted extent by checking Show preview in the Export pane. The preview is a white overlay on the map view showing the export extent. You can zoom or pan to ensure that the export contains the extent you need. Once the export pane is closed, the preview disappears.


Maps can be exported to sizes larger than your screen size. The zoom level and extent remain as shown in the preview, but the features are larger in the export.

Exporting a map allows you to generate a world file for certain raster file types. The world file is a separate file created in the same location as the export that contains georeference information. This allows the exported image to be used as raster data in ArcGIS Pro or other GIS applications. This option is not available in 3D views. To create a world file upon export, check the Write world file option.

Export a layout

Layouts can be exported from an open layout view. A layout can be exported at the page size or clipped to the extent of the elements on the page. Check Clip to graphics extent to include the areas of the page that have map or layout element content only, rather than exporting the entire page.

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