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Add a legend

A legend tells the map reader the meaning of the symbols used to represent features on the map. When a layer is added to a legend, it becomes a legend item with a patch showing an example of the map symbols and explanatory text. Legends always display the legend patch set for each feature layer.

Legends can be added to your layout based on a map or a smaller group of the map's layers.

  1. To add a new legend to your layout, on the Insert tab in the Map Surrounds group, click Legend Legend and on the layout view, click and drag to create the legend.
    • You can add a legend with only specific layers in the map by expanding the map in the Contents pane and selecting the layers you want to appear in the legend, before inserting the legend. To add items to the legend, drag them into the Legend group in the Contents pane. You can also drag and drop individual layers from the Map frame group in the Contents pane into the legend on the layout.
    • If no layers are selected, a legend is added containing all applicable layers from the map contained in the default map frame.
  2. To remove legend items from the legend, right-click the item and choose Remove. To keep them in the legend but not visible on the layout, uncheck the individual legend item.

When the legend is added to the Contents pane, it functions similarly to a group element that you can expand to see all contained layers as legend items. New legends will have the default settings and be set to adjust columns and font size.

For more information, see Work with a legend.

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