10 ArcMap Productivity Tips You Can Use Now

ArcGIS for Desktop includes many productivity features to help you get your GIS work done faster. Here are some tips you can try out in ArcMap right away. The 10 shortcuts below can shave milliseconds off common tasks, and hey, milliseconds count when you’re trying to get stuff done. You just may be able to get to lunch five minutes earlier and beat the crowd. That alone is going to save you at least 10 minutes, more if you’re going to Old Ebbitt.

 Working with Maps

  1. To activate a data frame, hold down the Alt key and click the data frame name.
  2. To create a copy of a layer within the same data frame, hold down the Ctrl key and drag the layer up or down. If multiple layers are selected, you can copy all of them at the same time by Ctrl-dragging. (When dragging a layer into a different data frame, the layer is copied by default. If you want to move a layer to a different data frame, hold down Ctrl while you drag it to the new data frame.)
  3. Hold down the Alt key and click a layer name to zoom to the extent of that layer.
  4. Select (click) a layer and press Enter to open its layer properties dialog box. Map and table open in ArcMap 10
  5. Hold down the C key while any tool is active to pan the map. Hold down X to zoom out, and Z to zoom in. This shortcut is especially useful when you need to select features that are geographically dispersed.

Working with Tables

  1. To quickly open a table, hold down the Ctrl key and double-click a layer or table in the Table of Contents; alternatively, select the layer or table and press Ctrl+T.
  2. Outside of an edit session, press the spacebar to select or unselect a row.
  3. Press Ctrl+U to switch (reverse) a selection.
  4. Double-click a field name to sort the field in ascending order. Double-click the field name again to sort in descending order.
  5. Click a field name and press Ctrl+H to turn off (hide) the field. (To display the field again, go to the layer properties dialog box > Fields tab, check the field name, and click OK.)

You can find these tips and many others in the ArcGIS for Desktop Help.


About SuzanneB

Suzanne is a Maryland native with a degree in English Literature who enjoys writing about Esri technology and other topics. She works with Esri Training Services in Redlands, California.
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  1. Pingback: 10 ArcMap Productivity Tips You Can Use Now | GIS Tidings

  2. salvaleonrp says:

    These are good tips even for advanced users.  Sorry I can’t help it but on Hint 5 for maps, please change disbursed from dispersed. Must be the spell checker.More of these tips and shortcuts!