Join Adam Wilbert for an in-depth discussion in this video Getting to know the ArcMap interface, part of ArcGIS Essential Training.
The primary tool that we'll use to assemble geospacial data to a map is called ArcMap. Let's get started by opening up one of the exercise files that I've provided. Go into the Exercise Files folder, into Chapter One, and find the file called 0103Interface, and double click on it. That should go ahead and launch ArcMap. ArcMap starts up, and I can see that this document contains a map of cities around the world. Now, if you're not seeing anything here in the middle portion of the screen, or if you have red exclamation marks over here underneath the word layers, then that means that ArcMap has lost contact with the data sources that this map is showing.
You'll need to review the movie called Working With GIS Data Files in order to see how to relink those data sources. Now let's take a look at the interface around the screen. Up along the top, I have the standard menus that come with most Windows programs. For instance, I have the File menu, the Edit menu, and so on. We'll take a look at a lot of these menus throughout this course. Below that, we have some toolbars. This first toolbar here along the top row is called our standard toolbar. The second toolbar down here is called our tools toolbar. We'll come back to those in just a moment. Below the toolbars, I have a section called table of contents here.
The table of contents displays all of the data that's currently being displayed in my map. For instance, I'm going to use the word layers. I have populated places, represented by this red circle. I have states and provinces, which are gray. I have graticules, which are white, so you can't really see it here, but in the map, you can see they're symbolized white. And then I also have this bounding box that goes around the full extent of the map. So that's the table of contents. The table of contents is currently pinned open. I can see that with this little pin icon right over here. If I click on it, the table of contents will automatically hide into a small little tab over here on the left.
To get back to it, I simply open it here by clicking on it, do whatever I need to do in the table of contents, and then as soon as I move off of it, say I click on my map, you'll notice that the table of contents automatically hides again. In order to force it to stay open, I'll click on the tab, and then click on the pin icon again to lock it open. Notice also that we have a close button right over here. If I close my table of contents, you'll notice that it removes it entirely from the interface. In order to get the table of contents back, we'll take a look up here on the standard toolbar, to this button right here. This will toggle my table of contents back off.
Now over on the right side of my screen, I have two additional tabs. One for catalogue, and one for search. These are currently unpinned, so that means that they'll automatically hide a reveal when I hover over the tabs, and when I move away, they'll automatically hide. Let's go ahead and click on the catalogue tab. I'm going to go ahead and press the pin button to lock it open for a moment. The catalogue tab opens up a little interface that'll allow us to add data to our map document. It provides a Windows Explorer-like interface for navigating the various files on our system. Let's go ahead and click the unpin icon here to return to a tab, and we'll take a look at search.
Search will allow us to look through our map documents here. By clicking on the map section, we can search through various map files. I can look through various data sources to find data sources that I might be interested in, and I can also do keyword searches on the various tools that are within the ArcMap interface. Search provides an easy way to find various items without having to dig through all the menus and buttons throughout the rest of the interface. Notice on these two tabs, we have the same pin and close icons, and again, just like with the table of contents, if I close these, it'll remove the tab from my screen. In order to get the catalogue, in search panels open again, we'll go back over here to the standard toolbar and we'll look at this button here, called catalogue, and this button here, called search.
Now both of those are added to my screen again, and you'll notice that they're locked open. If I click on the pin icon, they'll automatically hide. Along the bottom of my screen, I have what's called a status bar. The status bar is currently giving me a read out of my cursor position in decimal degrees. You can see that as I hover my cursor over the map document, you'll see the values are changing. It's giving me that read out in decimal degrees. If you're not seeing this status bar at the bottom, you can go over to the view menu and check it out here with the status bar button there. So let's return our attention to those toolbars up here along the top. You'll notice on the far left side of the toolbar, we have these four little dots, and when I hover over them, I get a crosshair.
All the toolbars in ArcMap can be repositioned wherever you like. Simply click on this section here with the four dots, and you can click, and drag and drop it away. Now that I've torn these tools apart, you can see that this one is called the standard toolbar. I can grab this other one over here, and drag and drop it over here, and you'll notice that it's called the tools toolbar. Now there are lots of different toolbars inside of ArcMap. If we go up to the customize menu, and point at toolbars, we'll see all of these different toolbars here that we can add into our interface, and there's a lot of them. This scrolls down over here. If we close one of our toolbars, let's say I go to the standard toolbar and click the close button here, you'll see it removes it from my interface.
In order to get it back, I just go to customize, toolbars, and then find the standard toolbar here. That'll load it back onto my screen, and if I want, I can go ahead and dock these around the screen. If I drag it up here to the top, you'll see it adds it back over here, but I can also move it around to various other places on the screen. I can move it on the bottom if I'd like, as well. Let's go ahead and put these back into position. Drag this one up, and then I'll drag the tools toolbar and place it where I started right below it. Let's go ahead and focus on navigating around our map document. Let's focus in on a couple of the tools on the tools toolbar that we'll use for navigating around our map document.
The first two icons are the magnifying glass. We have the plus magnifier, and the minus magnifier. These will zoom in and zoom out of my map document. If I click on the plus magnifier here, I can click to zoom in incrementally to my map, or I can drag a box to zoom into a specific area. The minus magnifier will allow me to do the same thing. I can click to zoom out, or I can click and drag out of the box, and that'll zoom out to a larger extent. The next tool over here is called the pan tool. It's represented by the hand. The hand, or the pan tool, will allow me to drag the map around, so if I click here and zoom in, now I can click on the pan tool, and now I can get around my map.
The next button is called the full extent button. It's represented by the globe. If I click on it, it'll zoom out of my map document to show all the data layers that are in my map. It'll show me the full extent. Next, I have some incrementals. Zoom in, and fixed zoom out buttons. These will zoom in and zoom out of the center of the screen without me having to click on the magnifying glass, and finally, I have these two buttons here. Go back to previous extent, and go to next extent. The go back to previous extent here will zoom back to my previous extent, so if I click on the zoom plus here, and zoom into New York, and click previous extent, it'll take me to where I just was, at which point I can click on next extent here to zoom back into New York, where I was a moment ago, so I can use the previous and next extent buttons to navigate through the history of my various views.
Now there's a couple of shortcut keys that are associated with the zoom and pan tools that will make your life easier here inside of ArcMap, and if you hover over your mouse here, over the tool tips, you'll see that it reads out where the shortcut keys are, so the zoom in tool is by holding down the Z key. The zoom out tool, you can hold down the X key to activate, and the pan tool, you can hold down the C key. Now note, if you're not seeing the tool tips here, we can go up to the customized menu here, and choose customize mode, and over here in the options section, we have the option to toggle our tool tips on or off, so if you're not seeing those tool tips, which are really handy, go ahead and toggle those on.
Go ahead and close this here. So let's go ahead and try out some of those shortcut keys. Now, unlike normal shortcut keys, these are ones that I call sticky keys. These, you actually have to hold down the key to toggle their stakes. So right now, I've got this little arrow tool, and you can go ahead and click on this arrow here to activate that tool. If I hold down the Z key, you'll notice that as my key is held down on the keyboard, the mouse cursor turns into that plus magnifier. As soon as I let go of the Z key, it changes back to the tool that I was currently at, so if I hold down Z, I get the plus magnifier. I can use it. And then as soon as I let go, it changes back to the tool I was at.
The X key does the same thing, but with the zoom out tool, so if I click on it, you'll see that my mouse cursor changes. I can click and drag to zoom back out, and the C key will temporarily turn on the pan tool, the hand. If I hold down C, I can drag and pan my map around, and as soon as I let go, it changes back to that pointer. Now there's one other key that I want to show you here. I'm going to press Z to zoom in, and I'll drag a box here around Washington, DC. The shortcut key that I find to be really useful is the Q key. If you hold down the Q key, that turns on what's called roaming mode, and now while the Q key is held down, you'll notice that my map starts moving around.
I can use my mouse here, and drag it around the screen, to push my map in various directions, so if I move my mouse to the left while the Q key is held down, you'll notice that my map pans over here towards the left. If I move my mouse up, you'll notice that the map pans up, and as I move my mouse down, you'll notice that my map pans down. Holding down the Q key activates that roaming mode, where you can move around the map just by moving the mouse. Now, all of the screen elements can be positioned wherever you'd like on the screen. We've already seen that you can tear off these toolbars here and move them wherever you'd like. We can do the same thing with the table of contents, the catalogue window, the search window, and other windows that we haven't seen yet.
Simply click on their title bar here, and you can move them around on the screen. You'll notice that as I'm dragging it, I get these various drop zones, so I can dock the table of contents to the top of the screen if I'd like, or I can drag it over here and dock it to the bottom, or I can put it in various positions around the screen. Same thing with the catalogue window. If I click it and then turn on the pin icon, I can drag it into position somewhere else. So for instance, if I went to the right side of the table of contents, I could drag it, drop it on this little drop zone here, and it'll dock the catalogue to the right table of contents. Now, unfortunately, there's no easy way to reset the interface to the standard configuration, but let me show you a little trick here.
In order to reset my interface, what I want to do is close out of ArcMap here, and I don't need to save any of my changes to my map document, and I'm going to go up to my Windows Explorer window. I'm going to click in my address bar up here at the top, and I'm going to type in percent app data percent. This will take me to a slightly different path, depending on what version of Windows you're using. Now, on my computer, it's in the users folder, inside of Adam Wilbert, or my username, inside of app data, and inside of roman. Once you get to whatever folder this takes you to, find the ezre folder here, and double click on it. Then go into your desktop 10.2 folder, or whichever version of ArcMap you're using, and then set up ArcMap.
Finally, we'll go into the templates folder, and we'll find this file here, called normal. This is the default template that starts up with ArcMap. If we simply take this file and drag and drop it into the recycle bin, and then start up ArcMap again, I'll go back to my Exercise Files, Chapter One, double click on that interface file again, you'll notice that when ArcMap starts up, all of the toolbars and menus are put back right where they started originally. So getting your workspace set up to your liking is an important first step in becoming comfortable in the ArcMap environment. Particularly, if you make use of multiple monitors. The ArcMap interface has lots of moving parts, and sometimes being able to quickly find a tool you need is the hardest part of the job.
As you become more familiar with the functions of the different windows, toolbars, and panels, you'll be able to quickly move them into the most efficient location, or selectively remove them from your screen in order to maintain a clear and clutter-free view of your map.
- Getting to know the ArcMap interface
- Geocoding addresses
- Measuring distances
- Adding and importing data
- Labeling and adding graphs
- Editing layer properties
- Seeing multiple views
- Making selections
- Exploring geospatial data with ArcCatalog
- Working with vector and raster data
- Styling the map
- Adding your own data
- Using the ModelBuilder
- Adding a legend and annotations