ArcGIS Pro Legend Options

06-07-2018 02:27 PM
Status: Implemented
Labels (1)
Occasional Contributor III

Can we have some more control over creation of Legends? Specifically I'd like to have the option when creating a Legend to have all items turn OFF by Default.  I'd also like a "Select All" so I can quickly create a legend with all Items On or Off by default. Ideally I'd like a Create Legend with only items I want to be included actually created in the Legend.  I think Allowing certain "universal Legend" setting to take place at creation could save time. For example, I'd like to be able to choose the Default Legend Text (before the legend is created), I'd like to choose the default Option of Showing a Title and what that default Title should be (before the legend is created), I'd like the default options of what Legend items I want to be turned on - descriptions, headings etc, (before the legend is created).

I know the developers were probably trying to avoid too many wizards and streamlining things but Legends are one area where users need more control and not just after the Legend is created - we need to be able to control HOW our default Legend creation looks.  I wouldn't even mind "Legend Templates".  


Has there been any traction on this?  

Legend creation is still rather cumbersome.  A settings dialog where we could set how legend creation occurs would be extremely helpful.

If there are ways to accomplish what I'm looking for can anyone point me to a tutorial or resource? 

by Anonymous User

I've discovered that I HATE arcgis pro legends. I'm trying to create 3 legends with identical formatting. I can copy and paste the formatted legend, but as soon as I change the source data the legend reverts back to its ridiculous default formatting with huge fonts and patch sizes. Having a legend template or being able to modify the default formatting would be wonderful. There are way too many choices and clicks if you have to keep repeating the same thing over and over to get a series of matching legends.



I'm right with you.

Legends are an example of where I am VERY critical of the UI design team.  It's clear that designers were NOT doing real paper map creation in a typical setting.  I'm considering migrating some of my work-flows back to ArcMap until the design is re-worked.

One specific example is I need to produce 5 simple plat-style maps for locations on a regular basis. The locations change so new plats need to be generated for each location. 

In ArcMap I could create a "template" for each of these - including Legends, then literally find the new locations, change definition queries, and the Plat titles to reflect the new locations, export to .pdf's,  and I was done. In PRO the same process requires me to: 

  1. Create a new Map and a new Layout for each plat in my project.  This is five new maps and five new layouts.  I know Projects can be as big as we want but in ArcMap I could have one template for each different plat, make my changes to the template and export my .pdf and be done.
  2. Next I have to recreate the Legend for all five layouts for each layout because of exactly what you describe.  For each legend (since there are no legend creation default options) I must:
    1. create a new Legend, Un-check all of the data elements I do not want in the legend since they all come over even though most of the elements in the plat do not need to be included in the legend.   
    2. Set my Legend to have a background and a border.
    3. Set the back ground and border buffers
    4. Set all of the Legend Fonts to Times New Roman because they all default to Tahoma
    5. Check that I want the Legend Title included, that I want it Times New Roman and Centered - since none of those options are available as a universal set property.
    6. Check that only elements in the view are included in the legend since that is unchecked by default - and again - there is no ability for us to set this universally.
  3. Finally I have to export each layout separately because there is no option to export multiple layouts at once - even though we can open multiple layouts at once.....

My example is rather simple but the key is that I must do this 2-3 times a month. When you compare the time it takes, and the complexity of the work-flows, it's absolutely better to do this in ArcMap.  

If ESRI is serious about PRO being the new flagship of GIS and map production they should have evaluated simple repetitive workflows. I've worked in GIS 17 years and what I'm doing, (or very similar), is pretty bread-and-butter for multiple organizations in different disciplines. In fact, it's so bread-and-butter one of the companies I worked for in the past actually wrote an ArcMap extension to more or less replicate my use case above. They sold that extension to several different agencies in the Federal government so I KNOW what I'm doing is a pretty normal, real-life, example of how a lot of people USE ESRI products. 

Apologies for the rant/long post. I am really TRYING to migrate and adopt PRO.  I've figured out how to use the product but I'm continually frustrated that what I used to do is now more difficult, more complex, requires more checks/clicks on an "improved" product. It would be one thing if my work-flows were unique, but I know they are not.  I think many people are waiting to migrate. Right now, even though I see the direction ESRI is going with PRO - and generally agree with the direction, the application is really lacking in some areas.  Legends are definitely not an improvement at this point in PRO.  They are in fact, in my experience, a significant decline in my productivity.  

by Anonymous User

I've wasted a whole day trying to get this to work in Pro. Am giving up at this point and going back to arcmap, since pro is far from being ready for prime time. Just seems very clunky that a program won't let a person copy an item and do one simple change without destroying all the formatting you've done. I even tried creating a legend with every possible map layer in it along with all the formatting, hoping I could simply copy this main legend and remove the items I didn't want. I selected 3 items for the legend but only one was included. I guess because I have 3 different map frames. Aarrgh.

by Anonymous User

We should alsao be able to order items, without links with layers. I would like to create legend group with line and polygone in the same group, for example...


For anyone that still has this problem, I solved it by creating a layout with the settings that i wanted, than saved it as a layout file (template). This way I can import it as many times as I want through arcpy.


Just a followup to one specific part of my original Idea

Specifically this part of my original idea:  "...Ideally I'd like a Create Legend with only items I want to be included actually created in the Legend" 

I discovered that this is possible buy selecting, (highlighting), the items in the TOC you want to have added to your Legend when you create it. If you do not select anything in the TOC, the default behavior is that PRO adds everything in the TOC to the legend. 

Please note that it has been 9 months since I submitted this idea and I just now discovered this.  The fact that it took me 9 months and a LOT of created Legends to learn this suggests that this behavior, while VERY welcome, is NOT Intuitive.    I wanted to post this partial solution here in order to help others that are struggling with Legends. 

I still do not know how to set other default legend properties upon creation and I still hope to see some of that functionality in an upcoming release. 

by Anonymous User

After working extensively with layouts and legends in Pro, I can totally agree with your statement about the software not being intuitive. It just seems clunky when you are trying to set paragraph formatting for Titles and Layer Names and there are paragraph formatting options in at least 4 or 5 different places. I struggled many times trying to remember where I found a particular setting for something (some of them are quite buried), and wasting a LOT of time looking for it or reading help screens. I'm usually pretty adept at picking up new applications, but this one is leaving me exhausted.


Yet another basic issue which is making me seriously consider waiting a year before I start using "Pro"

by Anonymous User

I'd wait for a bit. It is sort of a pain to keep flipping back and forth between Desktop and Pro. I have 2 sets of files for a handful of projects - one for Desktop and one for Pro because when I run into another limitation of Pro I have to go back to desktop. Gaaa.