Work with a map on a layout

Once a map has been added to the layout, you can interact with its layers through the layout's Contents pane as you would through the map's Contents pane. There, you have access to a layer's context menu, contextual tabs, and symbology.

You also have access to limited navigation controls in the Map group on the Layout tab. For example, you can use bookmarks to set the spatial or temporal extent of the map inside a map frame. These commands act on the current default map frame.


The default map frame is bold in the Contents pane. It is the last map frame you selected.

To interact with the map and perform tasks such as manual navigation, selection, and editing, you must activate the map frame containing that map. You must also activate the map frame to access other tools specific to a map view, such as adding data, or any tool that modifies the properties of the map. If a tool is available in the map view, but is disabled when in layout view, try activating the map frame. There are two ways to activate a map frame.

  • Verify that the map frame you want to activate is the default map frame. Then, on the Layout tab, in the Map group, click Activate Activate Map Frame.
  • In the Contents pane, right-click the map frame, and click Activate Activate Map Frame.

Activated map frame mode

In the activated map frame mode, you can work with the map within the context of the page. The rest of the layout will become disabled until you click Close Activation Close Activation on the Layout tab. When you are in activated map frame mode, you have two sets of navigation tools available.

  • To pan and zoom within the map frame, use the map navigation tools on the Map tab.
  • To pan and zoom the page, use the layout navigation tools on the Layout contextual tab.

When working with an activated map frame, keyboard and mouse navigation shortcuts navigate the page or the map, depending on which tool is active.

There are two ways to exit this mode.

  • Click the Close button in the upper corner of the view.
  • On the Layout tab, in the Map group, click Close Activation Close Activation.

Related topics

In this topic
  1. Activated map frame mode