Streamlining Map Element Placement with Layout Rules

Do your maps contain multiple map elements? Are you looking for a tool to better manage, standardize, and automate their placement? Below I’ll run you through layout rules, available in Esri Production Mapping’s Layout window, that allow you to do just that.

Using Layout rules you can define the relative placement of map elements in the page layout as well as establish rules for automatically adjusting the page size. Layout rules are saved to an XML file, allowing for easy distribution within your organization. From the Apply Layout Rules dialog you can open, configure, save, and apply your layout rules.

By clicking the Layout Rules button on this dialog you can configure new rules to meet your organizational requirements as well as access all of the properties associated with an existing rule set.

So, how do you configure a layout rule?  Well, any map element in your page layout can be assigned a horizontal and/or vertical placement rule that defines the specific placement of that element in the page layout. For instance, the Title_horizontal_rule highlighted below “Aligns the Left side of the Title element After the Left side of the Layers data frame at a distance of 0.3 Inches.”

In addition to element placement rules, layout rules provide the ability to set the page size that you would like to adjust to if any of your map elements end up being too close to the edge of a map frame. You can specify the page size, orientation, and margin distances for your page on the Adjustable Page Size tab.

By configuring and implementing layout rules in your organization you are able to realize efficiencies in your map production as well as enforce your organization’s cartographic standards. Give it a try and see how easy it is to configure your own layout rules. If you would like to explore some example layout rules, download the Production Mapping for Emergency Management Maps (ArcGIS 10.1) template.

Content contributed by Heather Eisan

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