Tutorial: Build a spatial map series

A spatial map series generates a set of output pages by taking a single layout and iterating over a set of map extents. The extents are defined by the features in a layer, known as the index layer. Any point, line, or polygon layer in the map can be used as the index layer.

This tutorial provides instructions for creating a spatial map series and exporting the map series to a PDF document.

Create a project and add ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World data

Use data from ArcGIS Living Atlas to create the map series.

  1. Start ArcGIS Pro. If necessary, type your user name and password on the ArcGIS Sign In screen and click Sign In.
  2. Click the Map project template, provide a name and location to store the project, and click OK.

    ArcGIS Pro opens with a map view.

  3. In the Catalog pane, click the Portal tab, and click the Living Atlas tab Living Atlas.
  4. In the search box, type USA States Generalized Boundaries, and press Enter.
  5. In the search results, right-click the USA States Generalized Boundaries feature layer and click Add To Current Map Add To Current Map.
  6. In the Contents pane, uncheck the basemap layers.

Add a layout, guides, and a map frame

To create a map series you need layout. You will create a blank layout and add a map frame for the map series.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Project group, click New Layout New Layout.
  2. From the gallery, in the ANSI Landscape group, click Letter 8.5" x 11".

    The layout is created in the project and the layout view appears.

  3. Right-click the ruler at the top of the layout and click Add Multiple Guides.

    The Add Guides dialog box appears.

  4. On the Add Guides dialog box, do the following:
    1. Under Orientation, click Both.
    2. Under Placement, choose Offset from edge.
    3. Change the Margin value to 1.
    4. Click OK.
  5. On the Insert tab, in the Map Frames group, click the Map Frame drop-down menu and choose the map in your project.
  6. In the layout view, click and drag to create the map frame inside the guides as shown in the following image:
    Layout with guides displaying the map frame

Change the layer's symbology

Since states are unique entities, they should be symbolized as such. This will help distinguish the boundaries of each state when you create the map series.

  1. In the Contents pane, ensure that the States layer is selected.
  2. On the Feature Layer tab, in the Drawing group, click the Symbology drop-down menu and choose Unique Values.

    The Symbology pane appears.

  3. In the Symbology pane, click the Field 1 drop-down menu and choose State Name.
  4. On the Classes tab, click Add All Values Add all values.

    The map updates with different colors for each state.

  5. Close the Symbology pane.

Create the spatial map series

Your layout is now ready to create the map series.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Map Frames group, click the bottom half of the Map Series button List Map Series Pages and choose Spatial Spatial map series.

    The Layout Properties window appears, the Map Series is enabled, and Spatial Spatial map series is automatically selected.

  2. Under Index Layer, confirm that Map frame is set to the map frame you added. If it's not, choose that map frame from the drop-down menu.
  3. Confirm that Layer is set to the States layer you added at the beginning of this tutorial. If it's not, choose that layer from the drop-down menu.
  4. Confirm that STATE_NAME is selected for both the Name Field and the Sort Field.

    A different map series page is created for each feature in the Name Field layer. In this case, an individual page will be created for each state.

  5. Expand Map Extent and ensure that Best Fit Extent is selected.
  6. Click OK.

    A map series based on the States layer appears in the Contents pane under Map Series Pages. Click various state names in the map series list and notice how the layout map updates for each.

Add dynamic text

Dynamic text is layout text that automatically updates when the layout properties—such as layers, map frames, and so on—are updated. Dynamic text works through the use of tags, similar to HTML. This allows you to combine dynamic and static text in a single text element. You will add dynamic text to your layout as a title, so as you click through the map series, each layout will have the appropriate state name as its title.

  1. With the layout view active, on the Insert tab, in the Graphics and Text group, click Dynamic Text Add Dynamic Text.

    A gallery appears, showing the dynamic text tags.


    Using the gallery is the most common way to add dynamic text, but you can also add a dynamic text element by typing the tags directly.

  2. In the gallery, under Map Series, choose Page Name.
  3. On the layout, above the map frame, click and drag a box at the desired location to create the dynamic text element.

    The dynamic text element is added to the layout.

  4. To remove "Page Name:" from the dynamic text element, right-click the text element and choose Edit Text.

    The tag becomes editable.

  5. Highlight "Page Name:" and delete it, then click outside the dynamic text box to stop editing.
  6. With the dynamic text selected, click the Text tab.
  7. In the Text Symbol group, click the Text Symbol Font Size drop-down arrow and choose 48.
  8. On the layout, expand the dynamic text element until it snaps to the guides.

Insert a north arrow and scale bar

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Map Surrounds group, click North Arrow New North Arrow.
    • Click the top half of the button to insert the current default north arrow.
    • Click the bottom half of the button to choose from a gallery of north arrows.
  2. On the layout, drag to position the north arrow below the map frame.
  3. On the Insert tab, in the Map Surrounds group, click the Scale Bar button New Scale Bar.
  4. Choose a style, and on the layout view, below the map frame, click and drag to create the scale bar.

    When a scale bar is added to the page, it is automatically associated with the default map frame. As you click through each map in the series, the scale bar will update.

Export the map series

After creating a map series, you can export it as a file to share. Exporting to a PDF document allows you to export all the pages in a map series as a single file. For other file types, like PNG, a new file is created for each page. For more information about exporting a map series, see Export a map series.

  1. Ensure that the layout view containing the map series is active.
  2. On the Share tab, click the upper half of the Export Layout button Export Layout to open the Export Layout pane.
  3. Under File, change File Type to PDF and provide a name and location for the file.
  4. Click Export.
  5. Open the file from the location where you saved it and notice that all pages have been included.

For more information, see Create a spatial map series.

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