Work with a map on a layout

To interact with the map and perform tasks such as manual navigation, selection, and editing, you must activate the map frame containing that map. You must also activate the map frame to access other tools specific to a map view, such as editing data, or any tool that modifies the properties of the map. If a tool is available in the map view, but is unavailable when in layout view, activate the map frame.

There are two ways to activate a map frame:

  • Verify that the map frame you want to activate is the default map frame. Then, on the Layout tab, in the Map group, click Activate Activate Map Frame.
  • In the Contents pane, right-click the map frame, and click Activate Activate Map Frame.

In the activated map frame mode, you can work with the map within the context of the page. The rest of the layout will become unavailable until you click Close Activation Close Activation on the Layout tab. When you are in activated map frame mode, you have two sets of navigation tools available, one for the map and another for the layout. By default, the Explore tool for the map is selected when a map frame is activated.

  • To pan and zoom in the map frame, use the map navigation tools on the Map tab.
  • To pan and zoom the page, use the layout navigation tools on the Layout contextual tab.

When working with an activated map frame, keyboard and mouse navigation shortcuts navigate the page or the map, depending on which tool is active. You can also press the 1 key to zoom and pan on the layout instead of the map while the map Explore tool Explore Tool is active.

There are two ways to exit this mode:

  • Click the Close button in the upper right corner of the view.
  • On the Layout tab, in the Map group, click Close Activation Close Activation.

Other ways to work with a map

Shortcuts allow you to update the map without activating it. You can work with map layers in the layout Contents pane as you would through the map's Contents pane. There, you have access to a layer's context menu, contextual tabs, and symbology. Additionally, if you right-click the map frame, you can use the Zoom to Last Active Map button Zoom to Map View to update the map frame's extent to match that of the last map view you interacted with.

You also have access to limited navigation controls in the Map group on the Layout tab. Use the Bookmarks gallery Bookmarks to navigate to any bookmark in the project. Use the Zoom to Map View gallery Zoom to Map View to adjust the map frame extent to match any open map view in the project. These commands act on the current default map frame.


The default map frame is bold in the Contents pane. It is the last map frame you selected.

Related topics