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Clip layers in a map

You can visually clip the layers in a map to highlight an area of interest without altering data. You specify either a rectangular extent or a shape derived from features, and your map draws only within that extent or shape. You can clip all the layers in the map, or just a subset.

Clipping affects drawing only. All the data is still available for query or analysis. Open a layer's attribute table to view all the features, including those clipped from view.

There are four clipping options:

Clipping optionConsiderations

No clipping

No layers are clipped. This is the default.

Clip to the map's extent

This option is only available if the map has a static custom extent set. The clipping uses these extent values dynamically. If you change the custom extent of the map, the extent used by this option updates as well.

Clip to the outline of features

This option is available only in 2D maps, not in 3D scenes, and the map must contain at least one polygon feature layer. You can clip to all features in the polygon layer, or just selected features, or just the features currently in view. The clipping uses these extent values statically. If the polygon feature layer is edited or removed from the map, the extent used by this option is not updated.

Clip to a custom extent

Using this option, you can set the custom extent in the same ways you can specify the map's extent. You can use any of the following sources to define the clipping extent:

  • The current visible extent
  • The extent of the data in all layers
  • The extent of all features in a layer
  • The extent of all visible features in a layer
  • The extent of all selected features in a layer

There are a few additional considerations when clipping layers in a 3D scene.
  • To clip layers in a scene, you must view it as a local scene. If you switch to a global scene view, the clipping options are retained, but there is no visual clipping in global scenes.
  • Only layers in the 3D layers category and surfaces can be clipped. Layers in the 2D category draw draped on the surface. To clip them, you must clip the surface that they draw on. They can't be clipped independently of the surface.
  • Only rectangular clipping extents can be applied in a scene. You cannot clip to the outline of features.

To specify the clipping extent used by the map's layers, follow these steps:

  1. In a map or scene view, right-click the name of the map or scene in the Contents pane and click Properties to open the Map Properties dialog box.
  2. On the Clip Layers tab, choose one of the following options from the menu.
    • No clipping
    • Clip to the map's extent
    • Clip to the outline of features. Click the Edit Clip button Editto choose a different polygon feature layer to clip to, if one is available in the map.
    • Clip to a custom extent. See Set the map extent to learn how to set a custom extent.
  3. Click Apply to apply the clipping choice.
  4. Optionally choose map layers to exclude from clipping by checking them in the Exclude layers from clipping menu. Layers excluded from clipping extend beyond the clipping edges.
  5. Optionally apply a line symbol to the clipping edges by specifying a Border symbol, Color, and Line width.
  6. Click OK to apply the clipping and close the Map Properties dialog box.

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