ArcGIS Pro Exported PDF Needs to Retain Layers for Labels like ArcMap

Idea created by szwillinger on Apr 4, 2019
    • szwillinger
    • canders_usgs
    • mattnash

    In ArcMap, if you have multiple vector layers with dynamic labels (and even different label classes for a single layer), the PDF that is exported contains a "Labels" folder and individual layers for each label class that can be turned on or off in the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software.  This allows the non-GIS user to control the density of labels in the PDF map. 


    ArcGIS Pro puts all dynamic labels (and any selected features) into the map frame container in the PDF.  This means that not only do you lose the individual PDF layers for each label class, but you lose the ability to display any vector or image layers without labels.  Since other layout objects end up in specific layers in the ArcGIS Pro PDF file, it should certainly be possible to replicate the ArcMap export behavior to have each label class in it's own layer (and preferably grouped into a grouped layer folder in the PDF).


    Likewise, it would be nice if all graphic objects (title, scale bar, north arrow, source text, etc.) that are not part of the map frame to be grouped into a folder/container for "Layout Elements" so that there is more organization in the output PDF file of the individual layers.  This would allow you to turn all layout elements off at the same time and just show the map frame.  If you have lots of graphic elements, this would save dozens of mouse clicks when using the PDF map.


    Why don't I just use ArcMap?  Because ArcMap doesn't have the option to preserve transparency in a map layer that ArcGIS Pro has.  Any layer with transparency gets merged into the background image for the map and there are times when it is really nice to be able to turn off a semi-transparent thematic map layer and reveal the basemap below in the PDF.