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How Do I Move Graphics from a Map to a Layout?

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09-08-2023 10:07 AM
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DavidSolari
Occasional Contributor III

I need map labels to draw over a number of layout elements. I've converted my map's labels to a graphics layer, how do I convert that into layout graphics? Alternatively, can I force the map's graphics to draw over the layout's graphics?

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DavidSolari
Occasional Contributor III

For future travellers, here's the unfathomably hacky workaround I figured out:

  1. Copy and paste the map to a "label map".
  2. Remove all layers in the label map save for the label layer. Ensure the map has a transparent background.
  3. Remove the label layer from the original map.
  4. Return to the layout and copy-paste the original map's frame to a "label map frame".
  5. Copy and paste the extent from the original map frame to the label map frame.
  6. Align the label map frame to the original map frame.
  7. Ensure the label map frame has no background, borders etc. set at the frame level
  8. Order the label map frame over the layout graphics.

Et voila! Labels on top of graphics on top of maps! Just make sure you have the rest of the layout 100% locked in before you do this, even with feature-linked annotations this adds a lot of work to each iteration.

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TomBole
Esri Regular Contributor

Hi @DavidSolari 

Currently, map graphics and layout graphics are independent. There is no way to copy one from the other. Also, the drawing order of map features and graphics in a layout is contained in the map frame. You can only order the drawing of the map frame (and all within) as whole with other layout elements. You cannot specify parts of the map (ex: graphics) to draw "outside" of the map frame.

If you want map graphics to draw on top of layout elements, but want to the other parts of the map (ex: features, basemap) to draw below the layout elements you will need to create separate layout graphics.

Hope this helps.

Tom 

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DavidSolari
Occasional Contributor III

Thanks Tom, that first paragraph lines up with what I found through experimentation. I'm confused by the wording in the second paragraph, are you saying there's a way to sandwich layout graphics in-between map layers? That seems like a contradiction, maybe I'm reading it wrong.

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TomBole
Esri Regular Contributor

Sorry for the confusion. Layout graphics, or other layout elements, cannot be sandwiched between map layers. They can only be sandwiched between other layout elements (ex: legend, scale bar, etc...). The map frame is a layout element. It is the container for the map.  

Another way of thinking about this is the "space" that each element resides in.  Map layers and graphics reside in geographic space (measured in decimal degrees, meters, feet...), while layout elements reside in page space (measured in inches, MM, points).

Though you can view both spaces when viewing a layout - you can only interact with the geographic space when you activate a map frame. When the map frame is not active you are working in page space. Currently there is no way to convert elements/graphics from one space to the other.

Tom

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DavidSolari
Occasional Contributor III

For future travellers, here's the unfathomably hacky workaround I figured out:

  1. Copy and paste the map to a "label map".
  2. Remove all layers in the label map save for the label layer. Ensure the map has a transparent background.
  3. Remove the label layer from the original map.
  4. Return to the layout and copy-paste the original map's frame to a "label map frame".
  5. Copy and paste the extent from the original map frame to the label map frame.
  6. Align the label map frame to the original map frame.
  7. Ensure the label map frame has no background, borders etc. set at the frame level
  8. Order the label map frame over the layout graphics.

Et voila! Labels on top of graphics on top of maps! Just make sure you have the rest of the layout 100% locked in before you do this, even with feature-linked annotations this adds a lot of work to each iteration.

TomBole
Esri Regular Contributor

Creative workaround!  Well done!

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AlexAbbott
New Contributor II

This is almost comically absurd! Particularly given the transition many of us are (albeit a bit late) making from many hundreds of ArcMap documents/projects to be able to use many as imports to Pro. I am not a software architect, so please forgive me, but these graphics are simply objects, are they not? So, why can't we copy them relatively easily from a map to a layout? The alternatives are extremely time consuming.

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TomBole
Esri Regular Contributor

Yes, they are objects, however, as I stated before, they "live" in completely different spaces.

Graphics on a layout page "live" in page space where the units are inches, points, etc... Map graphics "live" in map, or geographic, space which is likely to to have a map projection and the graphic may also have a reference scale attached to it - properties that do not make any sense in page space. The copy/paste procedure needs to take these differences into account. 

This is not a trivial thing to do.

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