North arrows

A north arrow maintains a connection to a map frame and indicates the orientation of the map inside the frame. When the map rotates, the north arrow element rotates with it.

Insert a north arrow

When a north arrow is added to the page, it is automatically associated with the last selected map frame. If there isn't a map frame on the page, the north arrow is not associated with any map, and the map frame is set to <None>. You can set the map frame of the north arrow later, after it is inserted.

  1. On the Insert tab, in the Map Surrounds group, click North Arrow New North Arrow.

    Click the upper half of the button to insert the current default north arrow. Click the lower half of the button to choose from a gallery of north arrows.

  2. On the layout, drag to position the north arrow.

The north arrow gallery contains all the north arrows in the project styles.

Modify the appearance of a north arrow

To modify the appearance of a north arrow, select it in the layout, and click the North Arrow tab. You can also right-click the north arrow (either on the layout or in the Contents pane) and click Properties to open the Element pane and set the properties there.

Once you've adjusted the north arrow, you can save it to a style to use again in future projects without needing to redo the formatting.

The map frame a north arrow is associated with can be changed by choosing a new map frame from the drop-down list in the Map Frame group.

Set the map frame and angle of a north arrow

Click the Design tab to associate the north arrow with a map frame or to adjust the angle.

Control the orientation of the north arrow by choosing an option for Type:

  • Map North—The north arrow points to north as defined by the rotation of the map in the associated map frame.
  • True North—The north arrow angle points to geodetic north (to the north pole), as calculated by the coordinate system of the map in the associated map frame, at the center of the map.
  • Magnetic North—The north arrow points to the north magnetic pole, as indicated by the north-seeking needle of a magnetic instrument. The magnetic value is calculated using the World Magnetic Model, which is released in five-year epochs.

Provide a value for Calibration Angle to manually adjust the rotation angle. Positive values between 0 and 360 degrees apply counterclockwise rotation. Negative values between 0 and -360 degrees apply clockwise rotation. Use the calibration angle to show magnetic declination by providing the angle that magnetic north deviates from true north.

The Calculated Angle value shows the rotation angle of the north arrow based on the orientation and calibration angles. You cannot edit this value.

Adjust the map frame and visibility range

A north arrow can reference any map frame on the layout. It can also be configured to display only when its associated map frame is within a specified scale range. By default, a north arrow references the most recently selected map frame at the time the north arrow was inserted and displays at all scales. The associated map frame and the visible scale range can be changed at any time.

To change the associated map frame or change the visible scale range of a north arrow, complete the following steps:

  1. Select the north arrow in the Contents pane or on the layout.
  2. Right-click the north arrow and click Properties Properties to open the Element pane.
  3. In the Map frame drop-down list, select the map frame for the north arrow to reference.
  4. Set the visibility scale threshold using the Maximum scale Maximum scale and Minimum scale Minimum scale drop-down lists. When values are set in one or both of these lists, the north arrow appears only when the source map frame is within the specified scale range.

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