I have a map that contains a polygon that represents a fence around a 30,000 acre area, random points within the fence area, some lines for some hydrographic features, and an orthographic image underneath. Based on a 36" by 48" layout for a plotter, I would like to print letter-sized sections of the map. I understand I can use Data Driven Pages for this. I need an index layer and I don't know what to use from the existing layers. I tried to use the Grid Index Features tool, but it ends up drawing a much larger rectangle over my map, so that my whole map ends up being like one small frame, instead of having smaller frames of my map.
In the tool, I add my polygon for the optional input layer. I check off the optional boxes at the bottom: Generate Polygon Grid... and Use Page ..., but checked or unchecked, I don't get the right kind of new layer. I'm not sure what else to do at this point.
I have not used this tool. For a dumb DDP index, I have used the Create Fishnet tool. You can set the extent of your layer as the outer box and then specify the number of columns and rows you want. For smarter DDP indexes, I usually just buffer my actual data and edit buffer shapes that don't seem like they will work well as index shapes.
You might also consider just exporting the bigger map and tiling using Adobe Acrobat. This will literally just print sections, while a DD map will repeat the legend and other content on every page.
Dana, Thank you for the suggestions. Those sound good. I actually did figure out what my problem was though. That being the case, I will write it here, so that a year or two from now when I have to do this again and I have forgotten what I did, I can look it up. Maybe this will also benefit another clueless Arc user like me.
In the Layout View, I had my map set to the approximate plotter dimensions, 42 x 36. What I actually needed to do was set it to the letter size, 8.5 x 11, by changing the page settings under File. In the Data View, instead of having the whole map visible at a scale of approximately 1:120000, I had to have the scale at something more like what a single page would look like, 1:3000 or something. Then I was able to get the Grid Index tool to work. If the scale is too small and the feature it is based on doesn't have good coverage, then there won't be complete by the grid. Gonna have to mess with the scale or use a different feature. Once the grid is set up, the DDP feature functions great.