Create a Dynamic Table in your Map Layout

Have you ever wanted a dynamic table in your map layout that updated attribute information as you panned and zoomed or as you navigated through a map book? Based upon numerous requests posted on the ArcGIS Ideas site for this specific capability, I’m guessing the answer is YES!

For those not aware, Esri Production Mapping’s graphic table element allows you to create dynamic, data-driven tables in your map layout. The use of dynamic tables is not limited to map documents enabled with data driven pages, they’re useful in any map document that requires table content be updated with changes in the visible extent of the data frame. Below, I’ll highlight steps for adding a simple dynamic table to a state map book that will list the state capitals visible on each page.

Assuming you’ve already built a state map book using data driven pages, let’s go ahead and get started!

  1. In ArcMap, click Insert > Graphic Table Element.
  2. In the New Table dialog box, choose Item to Row for the Table Format.  Click the Wizard button.
  3. In the Set Table Format dialog box, choose Auto Fit cells for the Width
    and Height properties so the cells will automatically adjust to fit the returned attributes. Click Next.
  4. In the Selecting table datasources dialog box, choose the Cities feature layer as the data source. Make sure the Always keep table dynamically synchronized with data frame check box is checked which will allow the table to update dynamically with changes in the data frame extent. Click Next.
  5. In the Defining table fields dialog box, choose the CITY_NAME field as the table’s source field and click the arrow to add it as a table field. Click Next.
  6. Choose the Cities layer as the data source and click the Filter button on the Defining filters dialog box. Here you can define a filter to display just the capital city for the current state in the table.
  7. In the Data Filters dialog box, choose Visible Extent. Click the Add Filter button and choose Attributes Filter. Build the following query; “CAPITAL” = ‘Y’. Click OK twice and then Finish.Now that the underlying data properties are set, you can start to make cosmetic changes to the table’s appearance to fit your organizations specifications.
  8. Right-click the table in your map layout and choose Properties. In the Table Properties dialog box choose the Table Format tab and click the Table Design button.
  9. In the Item to Row Table Design dialog box, delete the f1 (footer) row by right-clicking the cell and choosing Delete > Rows.
  10. To change the table title, click the cell containing CITY_NAME. In the Elements window, click  the plus sign (+) next to (h1,A).  Double-click on TextElement to access its properties. Replace the existing text with City Name and click OK.
  11. Finally, let us assign a color to the header cell. In the Table Layout window, right-click the header cell and choose Properties. Choose the Background tab and click the Symbol button.
  12. Click the Fill Color drop-down arrow and choose a color.
  13. Click OK four times to apply the table updates.

Now as you navigate through your different map book pages the table will update automatically to display capital cities within the current visible extent.

The use case above highlights a very simple example of how you can add dynamic tables to your map layout using the graphic table element. Other examples include dynamic legends, glossaries, and tables that are more complex in design. The possibilities for customization of your tables are almost endless!

Content contributed by Clint Loveman

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Leave a Reply


  1. oluminita says:

    Hi, when I am in the Layout View and go the Insert menu, I do not have a Graphic Table Element. What could be the reason?
    I would like to add that I have a ArcInfo 10.0 license, and I have generated a mapbook in my mxd. Thank you!

  2. The Graphic Table Element tool is part of Esri Production Mapping. You must have this product installed in order to use the tool.

  3. cameronwallace says:

    I don’t currently have the ESRI Production Mapping installed, but would consider at least evaluating if the dynamic table element could include fields from related tables, and/or if these elements could be integrated into leader-labels (i.e.

  4. cameronwallace says:

    This functionality really needs to be taken out of Production Mapping… so I don’t have to go to CAD to make tables of data in my figure.

  5. gnewburyiv says:

    Is there anyway I can use python and data driven pages to convert the Graphic Table Element into a pure Graphic?

    I’m using the Terrago Publisher for ArcGIS plugin (because they support hyperlinking and a finer grain control over PDF layering), however it doesn’t export the Graphic Table Element properly. I realize this is not your problem, but if I could use python to convert the Graphic Table Element into a Graphic, then I could do so in conjunction with saving out each individual data driven page as its own MXD and then export each page individually.

    George Newbury

    • ProductionMappingTeam says:

      Currently there is no python access to the graphic table element. Thank you for the idea; we are considering it for a future release.

      Note: At 10.1 SP1, we have added python access to some of the Esri Production Mapping features. You can find the list here.

  6. hughestj says:


    I would like to colour code the table based on an attribute. Is this possible?

    So…. Neutral =Green, Adverse = Red etc etc…..

    Any help much appreciated!


  7. mareew says:

    I have a GTE in my layout (working fine). Is there a way to get the numbers in the field to show the thousands separators? I’m dealing with large numbers (usually millions) in my table and the figures are hard to easily comprehend without the separators.

    I have the separators showing in the attribute table of my source data but this doesn’t come through to the output table in layout.


    • andrew.ryder says:

      I have a similar issue in that it relates to the formatting of a number(Double) field. I need to show bearings in the quadrant bearing format, I can change the format in the attribute table, but not in the GTE. Is this something that can be done?

  8. wellybudi says:

    How to Create a Dynamic Table in your Map Layout in Arcgis 10.2?

  9. bobm1026 says:

    Insert > Graphic Table Element. does not exist…

    • mphaterpekar says:

      The Graphic Table Element tool is part of Esri Production Mapping. You must have this product installed in order to find the tool. Also you must be in the Layout View to use it.

  10. geo_sims says:

    Is the Dynamic Table limited to only 50 entries? I’m attempting to create a table for valves within a given grid. However, some grids have over 100 valves. Currently the entries stop at 50.

    • rachelg_esri says:

      The Dynamic Table defaults to only showing 50 entries, as you’d guessed. In order to expand this, you have two options:

      1) You can define the number of rows during the Wizard steps. On the last page before clicking “Finish”, click “Data Items”. In the top right, change “Maximum number of data items:” to your desired amount. Entering -1 will include all rows.

      2) After the table is built, right-click the table and click “Properties” at the bottom. Proceed to the “Data Source” tab, then “Data Items”. In the top right, change “Maximum number of data items:” to your desired amount. Entering -1 will include all rows.

      Keep in mind that loading all rows will slow down the loading time, so it may require a bit of patience.