Preview a frame before export

When authoring an animation, it can be difficult to visualize how the map or scene will be displayed in the output video. Properties such as aspect ratio and export resolution can influence what is visible within the view extent and the level of detail at which it is shown. It is also possible for overlay text and images to be unexpectedly large or small or obscure important content. The Preview Frame window allows you to generate the final output from a specific moment within your animation as an image frame, without exporting the entire video.

The Preview Frame window is a modeless view so it can be left undocked, and you can quickly preview moments in your animation timeline. The image can also be saved to a file on disk so you can share the frame with others or use it as a fully rendered screenshot in third-party video editing software.


The preview image will take into account both project display properties, such as antialiasing and video export properties, and animation display properties such as image quality, set on the Export Movie pane.

The Preview Frame window for animations

Using the Preview Frame window

  1. On the Animation Timeline pane, move the current time indicator (red vertical bar) to the moment you want to preview. Alternatively, set the Current time control in the Playback group on the Animation tab on the ribbon.

    The Preview Frame image will always snap to the nearest frame being exported based on your video export settings. For example, if you are exporting a 10 frames-per-second video and the current animation time is set to 1.23 seconds, the previewed frame will be shown for the 1.2 second mark.

  2. In the Export group on the Animation tab, click Preview Preview Frame.

    The Preview Frame window opens with the image set to fit within the size of the window.

  3. Explore the preview image using the following options:
    • Click Zoom In or Zoom out on the preview to see the preferred amount of detail.
    • Click Zoom the preview to the current export size to see the image in its full resolution.
    • Click Zoom the preview to fit the window to see the entire image within the window.
  4. As needed, change the animation time to other moments you want to preview. The Preview Frame contents will update automatically.

Preview Frame options

The controls on the Preview Frame window are as follows:

  • Sync Sync——Sync is on by default so that the Preview Frame contents will update automatically. Click Sync to disable automatic updating of the image.
  • Reload Reload Preview—Click Reload to manually force a redraw of the preview image.
  • Save Save—Click Save to save a copy of the image to disk.
  • Image Details—Expand the Image Details section at the bottom of the window to see additional details about the animation frame.