Ready to watch this entire course?
Become a member and get unlimited access to the entire skills library of over 4,900 courses, including more Business and personalized recommendations.Start Your Free Trial Now
- View Offline
- Understanding vector vs. raster data
- Modifying metadata
- Adding data to a map
- Importing data from online providers
- Labeling features
- Joining data
- Clipping data to a study area
- Working with map layouts
- Creating a legend
- Printing and exporting the map to a file
Skill Level Beginner
When working on a large map document, you'll find yourself spending a lot of time navigating around the map, zooming in and out of various locations. And spot checking lots of different areas to make sure you're telling the story of your data. ArcMap provides three tools under the Windows menu, that can help you move quickly and precisely around the map. If we go up to that Windows menu, you'll see a couple of things that we've already talked about here. The table of contents catalogue and search. So again, these duplicate the functionality found over here in the standard toolbar. So there's the table of contents catalogue and search buttons there as well. But underneath that Windows menu, we also have the option for Overview, Magnifier and Viewer.
So I want to take a look at these three tools here. First one on the list is Overview. I go ahead and click on that, you'll get this new window that pops up, that currently in this particular map shows just a blue rectangle. And if I open this up again, it doesn't really look like it's going to show me very much. What this does though, if I zoom in to the map, and I'm going to zoom in to the, maybe northern portion of Africa, you'll see that it gives me this little display extent rectangle, show me where I'm zoomed in. Now right now the layer that it's showing me in the background, is this dounding box layer. So it's just showing me the blue rectangle, essentially the water features of this particular map.
So it's not extremely helpful at the moment. In order to make this a little bit more useful, what we need to do is go up to this layer overview title bar here and right click on it. And that'll pop up a context menu for this particular window. Now this is actually a good lesson for a lot of things in ArcMap. This particular functionality of the right click menu isn't extremely discoverable here, but in a lot of places in ArcMap, a lot of features are available through a right click pop up menu. So once I click on that menu, I'm going to choose Properties here, and that'll open up the Overview properties screen here.
And here I can choose which reference layer I want to display in that. So instead of that bounding box, what I'm going to do is open this drop down list, and choose States and Provinces. I can also choose to change the Extent Symbol and Background color here, but I'm just going to leave those at their default and just press Apply. And you'll see that the layers overview now giving me an overview of my entire map data, plus a bounding box showing me which current area I'm zoomed into at the moment. So my map area is in the northern portion of Africa, and you can see this orange box represents the viewable area on my screen.
Now, if this is hard to see, what I can do is go back into this Extent Symbol, click on that and then change the fill color and the outline color. So maybe if I don't want to see it as a blue highlighted rectangle, I can say white. And I'm going to change the outline color to maybe a darker red. And I'm going to change this outline width to make a little bit thicker. I'll go ahead and say OK, and then Apply. And you'll notice that the extent rectangle now updates with the new symbology here. I'm going to go ahead and say OK. And now, as I pan and zoom around the map, you'll see that the extent rectangle shows which area I'm currently looking at.
So that's the overview window here. And again if I have multiple monitors, it's really a nice thing to do is to drag this off, and put it off on your other screen if you have one available. I'm just going to go ahead and close mine here. Back to that Windows menu, the next one down is called Magnifier. Let's turn that on and see what that does. The magnifier, again gives me a new window that this time shows a zoomed in area of the area that it's over. So if I move the magnifying glass window over here to Casablanca and click, and let it go. You'll see that it gives me a zoomed in area. And it currently is showing me a 400% zoom.
So it's 400% zoomed in from the original scale here, which is one inch equals 523 miles. And I can move this around to different areas in the map, and as soon as I drop it, so for instance on Madrid, it'll give me a zoomed in area here of Madrid. Now you notice it has all these window buttons up here, are grayed out. So the zoom, the pan, the full extent, the zoom in and out buttons here, and the previous and next extent buttons here, these are all grayed out, but I can change the magnifier. So I can change this, instead of a 400% zoom, I can say, maybe, 1000% zoom, and it'll give me a really zoomed in look of the area that it's over.
So you can see that's 1,000% zoom. Or I can change it back out to maybe just a double zoom at 200%, so I can just zoom in twice as big as the standard area of my map. So there's some functionality there that I can use. And then I also have this Flyout menu over here. And I can change it from a magnifier and a viewer window, you notice viewer is the other option underneath the Windows here. So I can toggle between a Magnifier and a Viewer. We'll look at Viewer in just a moment. We come back over here to the Flyout menu. I can turn on an option to update while dragging. So if I turn that on, it will just zoom into the area as I drag it around.
So it doesn't give me that zoomed out view to help target, but it just does a zoom of the area that it's currently over, as I move that around. We'll go back over here and turn that off. And if I click on this one more time, I can go down to Properties to change some of the Properties. So, for instance, I can change its mode again here from a Magnifier to the Viewer mode. I can also change the magnification from a percentage to a fixed scale. If I choose Fix Scale, I can choose which particular scale I want the zoom window to show me. So 1 inch equals 1.58 miles.
If I say Apply, and say OK, now it's showing me a very zoomed in view of this particular map. So close in fact that's it's not going to give me much detail with the data layers that I have currently loaded. So I'm going to go back over to here, and maybe I'll choose the dropdown list and choose a different zoom level. There we go. So I have some different options here for how I want to control that zoom. Now, I did mention that we can go into this Flyout menu and change it from a Magnifier to a Viewer. And basically what the Viewer does is it enables all of these buttons up here on the top to allow me to zoom in and out manually.
So if I click here and zoom out, basically what the Viewer window is doing for me, is providing a second view window of my data. And so you see, if I move it around it has no relationship to the area of the map that it is currently on top of. So if I move it over here, it's not showing me this portion of the map over here, it's still showing me what I was originally looking at, Algiers over here. But I can zoom in and out independently. So, I can treat this as a second view window of my data, and I can pan it just like I can with everything else. And I can say Full Extent to zoom out all the way.
So what I want to do here is maybe zoom in to the United States. And I can take a look at the United States. And then the rest of my map, I can pan around and I can keep an eye on whats going on over here. Now we can enable multiple view windows. Over here on the tools toolbar, we have another button here called Create a Viewer Window. It's got the little magnifying glass inside the window icon here. If I click that and drag out a new window, I can get a new viewer that I can position to maybe another area of the map. So if I zoom out, I can choose somewhere else I want to look at. Maybe I want to look at Italy for instance.
I'll just zoom in here. So now I have three different displays of my current map. And I can reposition these however I need. Again, this is a great use of multiple monitors. There's a couple more features of the Viewer window I want to show you. If you go into the Flyout menu, you'll notice you have a lot more options here. We can pan the map to the Viewer location, or we can Pan the Viewer to the map location. So for instance, right now, this viewer is currently looking at Italy. And if I pan my main map somewhere else, and go into this Flyout menu and choose Pan Map to Viewer Location, in which case the main map jumps back to Italy.
If I go to the second one down here, I can choose to Pan the Map To the Viewer Location now, it'll jump over to my United States area. So, it's a really easy way to help you move around the document, similar to using bookmarks up here. So, that's the Pan and Move the Map To the Viewer Location. I can also Pan the Viewer To the Map Location. So if I take my main map and I zoom in maybe to Florida here. If I go to that Flyout menu, I can now change my viewer to show me what the current map extent is.
So now, it will zoom in to that Florida area. Now, keep in mind that it's going to stay at the same scale here, so I would have to change that as well. Back to the Flyout menu, we've got the Zoom Map To Viewer Location and Zoom Viewer To Map Location. And these do the same thing as panning, but they apply to the zoom. So I can Zoom Map To the Viewer Location, or I can Zoom the Viewer To that Map Location. If I click on that now it'll give me that zoomed in view of Florida. So those are some additional options that the Viewer has underneath the Flyout menu there. So that's the three tools that can help you organize your views, especially considering that map documents come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
And are on average much larger than the file that you may be used to working on. It's not uncommon to use ArcMap to generate wall posters, and large and highly detailed reference maps. Making good use of the Overview, Magnifier and Viewer windows, can make navigation around your large map documents a quick and efficient process that won't get in the way of your analysis work.