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Maps convey information about geographic features; yet displaying only features on a map—even with symbols that convey their meaning—isn't always enough to make your point. Adding text to your layout improves the context of geographic information and its overall presentation. For example, a map title can focus the reader's attention to the intent of the map. You might also consider adding other information such as map author, data source, and date.

There are six different shapes that text can be added in: Rectangle, Text, Curved Text, Polygon, Circle, and Ellipse.

Add and modify text

  1. To add text to a layout, ensure that you've added a layout to your project.
  2. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click the New Text drop-down list and choose the desired text shape.
  3. Place the pointer on the desired location of the layout and click to start typing your text.
  4. To customize the properties of the text element, in the Contents pane, right-click the element and click Properties. You can change the following:
    • Element name
    • Visibility
    • Number of columns
  5. To modify the text symbol in the Format Text pane, click the Text Symbol tab to modify the appearance, position, and rotation of the text. Halos, shadows, and callouts can also be added to the text element.

Using the handles of the Rectangle text bounding box, you can reshape the paragraph into multiple lines. If you choose Text New Text from the New Text drop-down list, the aspect ratio of the text will be maintained regardless of size.


Text within a single text element can be placed in multiple columns on the Format Text pane. To add columns expand the Paragraph header and set the desired number of columns in the Columns control. Set the distance between columns using the Column Gaps control, and set the distance between the edge of the text element and the start of the text using the Margin control.


Columns are only available for Rectangle, Polygon, and Circle text types.

Edit text in-line text

After you've added text, you can make further edits.

  1. To make changes to the text on the layout, double-click the text.
  2. Use the keyboard arrows to move the pointer and delete text or type new text.
  3. Optionally, on the Format tab, change the color, font, alignment, size, and position of the text.

Use text editing shortcut keys

You can use keyboard shortcuts to work with text elements on the page. These shortcuts require that you select the desired text first.




All caps





Ctrl+Shift+Plus Sign


Ctrl+Equal sign

Use the following shortcuts to commit your changes:

  • Press Ctrl+Enter.
  • Press F2.
  • For area, point, and curve text, click outside the element.
  • Press Esc to cancel the edit.

Format with tags

ArcGIS Pro text formatting tags allow you to modify the formatting for a portion of text. This allows you to create mixed-format text where, for example, one word in a sentence is underlined. Text formatting tags can be used almost anywhere text is placed on or around the map. You can use the tags anywhere you can specify both a text string and a text symbol. For example, you can use tags in map titles and legend text.

Tags can be formatted in the Format Text pane. For more information about using tags, see Text formatting tags.

Use spell-check

Spell-check is available for text elements in layouts. Other layout elements, such as legends and scale bars, cannot be spell-checked. Misspelled words are marked with wavy red underlines in the layout view and in the Format Text pane. Right-click a word marked as misspelled to correct the word or add the word to the custom dictionary so it won't be marked as misspelled in the future.

To see a list of all misspelled words in a layout, on the Layout tab click the Check Spelling button Spell Check. The Check Spelling pane appears, listing all misspelled words in the project. Right-click a misspelled word or words in the pane to correct the word, add the word to the custom dictionary, or zoom to the text element(s) containing that word.


If incorrect words are not marked as misspelled, confirm that spell-check is enabled.

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