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Arrange map items for print

In the previous lesson, you created some supplementary material to include with your finished map. In this lesson, you'll arrange your map and map elements in a print layout that you can use to create a finished print map. Every step of the process for creating your map has emphasized clarity and readability, and your final print layout will be no exception. In addition to arranging your map elements in a way that allows for the easy consumption of data, you'll also add text annotations that explain some of the war's key bombing campaigns. Your final map will look great and make sense even to those who aren't well-versed about the Vietnam War.

Create a print layout and add a map frame

First, you'll need to choose a print layout. A print layout is a template that ensures your map content is sized to properly print on a sheet of paper. You can choose from multiple templates, depending on page size and orientation. Due to the shape of Vietnam, your data is mostly vertical, so you'll use a portrait page orientation. You'll choose a larger page size to show your map in more detail and leave room for your charts and annotations. Feel free to experiment with page size to find a better fit for your data or your printer.

  1. If necessary, open your Vietnam War Bombing Missions project in ArcGIS Pro.
  2. On the ribbon, click the Insert tab. In the Project group, click New Layout. Under ANSI - Portrait, choose Tabloid (11 x 17 inches or 279 x 432 millimeters).

    Tabloid layout

    A new layout is created and displayed in the map viewer. Before you continue, you'll change the color model of your layout to be more appropriate for printing. ArcGIS Pro, like most computer programs, has a default color model of RGB (red, green, blue), which combines colors in a way analogous to a light spectrum. Because computer monitors use light to create color, this color model makes sense when displaying colors on a screen. However, print documents use ink, not light, to create color. The CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color model combines colors in a way similar to how ink combines colors, so it's the preferred color model for print documents.

  3. In the Contents pane, double-click Layout to open the Layout Properties window. In the General tab, change Color Model to CMYK.

    Color Model

  4. Click OK.

    Your layout is currently empty. Next, you'll add a map frame that contains your Bombing Missions map.

  5. On the ribbon, in the Insert tab, in the Map Frames group, click the lower half of the Map Frame button and choose the Bombing Missions map. Click and drag to create a map frame in the layout.

    Map Frame button

    The map frame is added to the layout, with a map extent approximately the same as your map.

    Default layout


    Map symbols, such as point markers and labels, may appear smaller in the layout view than in the map. The layout view draws the symbols according to real-world dimensions (millimeters or inches), while the display draws the symbols according to pixels and DPI.

    By default, the map frame has white border around it. For your purposes, it's better to show more of your map than provide a border, so you'll increase the size of the map frame to match the layout.

  6. In the Contents pane, click Map Frame to select it. On the ribbon, click the Format tab.
  7. In the Size & Position group, change the Width to 11 in and the Height to 17 in (or 279 mm and 432 mm in metric units).

    Width and Height

    The map frame is resized, but it isn't centered in the layout view.

  8. In the Arrange group, click Align and choose Align to Page. Click Align again and choose Align Center. Then, click Align a third time and choose Align Middle.

    Align button

    Next, you'll remove the black border from the map frame.

  9. In the Current Selection group, choose Border.

    Current Selection

    The selected layout element is now the map frame border, which enables options for editing its appearance.

  10. In the Border group, change Width to 0 pt.

    Border width

    The border around the map frame is removed (if there still appears to be a black border around the frame, it's only because the map frame is currently selected). Before you start adding your inset map, chart, and other layout elements, you'll adjust the size of your map of bombing missions. You want the map's focus area to fill the majority of the layout, but you also want to leave some empty space for the other elements.


    For this lesson, you'll be given a scale at which to show your map. Feel free to experiment with your own scale and map layout organization.

  11. Below the map viewer, change the scale to 1:6,000,000.

    The map changes to the provided scale, but it's unlikely to be centered exactly in the layout. Before you can pan the map, you must activate it (otherwise, you'll only pan the map frame itself, not the map within it).

  12. On the ribbon, click the Layout tab. In the Map group, click Activate.

    Activate button

  13. Pan the map until it is roughly centered in the layout.

    Centered map in layout

  14. When you're satisfied with your map's position in the layout, click the Layout tab. In the Map group, click Close Activation.

    Close Activation button

Add the chart

The scale of your map and its position in the layout provides some space for additional layout elements. While you'll eventually add a title and explanatory annotations, it's best to add the largest and most inflexibly sized layout elements first: such as your time series chart. Because the time series chart is supplementary to the main map, it's a good idea to position it below the primary map in the visual hierarchy. You saved the time series chart as an image file, so you'll add it as a picture.

  1. With Map Frame still selected in the Contents pane, click the Insert tab. In the Graphics group, click Picture and browse to Missions_Chart.svg.

    Picture button

    The cursor changes to a crosshairs and you can draw a rectangle where the picture will go. Because you saved your chart as an SVG file, you can adjust its size after you add it without sacrificing image quality, so you don't have to worry about drawing an exact fit for it.

  2. On the map, in the empty area below Vietnam and Cambodia, draw a long rectangle that covers about 80 percent of the layout's width.

    The chart is added to the layout. The text on the chart might be too small to read in the map viewer, but it'll be much bigger when you actually print the map.

    Chart on layout

    The chart is also added to the Contents pane, although it has a generic title.

  3. In the Contents pane, double-click the Picture item to open the Format Picture pane. Change Name to Bombing Missions Chart.
  4. Close the Format Picture pane.
  5. If necessary, rearrange the location of the chart on the layout.

    You can also activate the map and reposition it if you need more room for the chart. If you want to resize the chart, you can do so by clicking the chart to select it, then dragging the chart's handles. You can also use the Align tool you used on the map frame to position the chart.

Add the inset map

Next, you'll add your inset map. Because it's a map, you'll add a new map frame pointing to your hexagon bins map. You'll also add a legend and title to the inset map so users understand its purpose and symbology. An effective legend should include just enough information to contextualize the contents of the map. Anything else is extraneous and potentially distracting.

  1. In the Insert tab, in the Map Frames group, click the lower half of the Map Frame button and choose your Hexbins map. Click and drag to create a map frame in the layout.

    A new map frame is added to the layout (you can confirm that the correct map is displayed in the map frame either visually or by expanding the map frame's content in the Contents pane).

  2. Drag the new map frame to the empty space in the lower right corner of your map (don't worry if the empty part of the new map frame goes outside of the layout). Leave some empty space above and below the inset map for its title and legend.

    Location of inset map

  3. If necessary, resize the new map frame or rearrange the original map's position to ensure all elements fit in a visually-pleasing way.

    If you resize the inset map frame, you may also need to adjust the size of the hexagon symbols in the Hexbins map.

    The inset map frame also has a border by default.

  4. Confirm that the inset map frame is selected, then click the Format tab. Change the Current Selection to Border and reduce the Width to 0 pt.

    You'll add a title to your inset map so users know what it shows.

  5. Click the Insert tab. In the Text group, click Text and choose Rectangle.

    Text rectangle

    Similar to when you added the time series chart as a picture, you'll draw a rectangle on the layout for the title text. You can resize the rectangle afterward, so don't worry about drawing it perfectly.

  6. Draw a rectangle above the inset map.
  7. In the text rectangle, delete the placeholder text and type General mission distribution. Click anywhere outside of the rectangle to save the text.

    The text is small and uses a generic font. You'll change its font to the same used by your labels (Century Gothic), as well as some other formatting options.

  8. In the Contents pane, double-click Text to open the Format Text pane. In the Options tab, expand General. Change Name to Inset Map Title Text.

    Text rectangle name

  9. Near the top of the Format Text pane, click Text Symbol. In the General tab, expand Appearance and change the following parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Bold
    • Size: 13 pt
    • Color: Gray 70%
    • Outline color: No color

    If you click outside the Format Text pane after changing parameters, you might be prompted to apply your changes. If prompted, choose Yes.

  10. Collapse Appearance and expand Position. For Horizontal alignment, choose the center justified button.

    Center justified horizontal alignment

    Lastly, you'll adjust the letter spacing, like you did for the labels.

  11. In the Format Text pane, click the Formatting tab. Expand Formatting and change Letter spacing to 5%.
  12. Click Apply. Move and resize the text rectangle so the text fits directly above the inset map.

    Inset title

    Next, you'll add a legend.

  13. In the Insert tab, in the Map Surrounds group, click Legend.

    Legend button

  14. Draw a rectangle under the inset map to contain the legend.

    Default legend

    The legend contains an item for the focus countries, which isn't really needed. The legend title and subtitle also aren't needed, because the inset map title already indicates what the symbols show. When you created the legend, it was added to the Contents pane.

  15. In the Contents pane, expand Legend. Uncheck Focus Countries.

    Uncheck Focus Countries

    The symbol for the countries no longer appears in the legend.

  16. Double-click Vietnam_Hexbins_1000mi.

    The Format Legend Item pane opens.

  17. For Show, uncheck everything except Label (or Layer Name).

    Format Legend Item pane

    All text in the legend except the labels showing how many missions each hexagon represents are removed. Lastly, you'll change the layer text's appearance to match the rest of the text in your layout.

  18. Click the arrow next to Legend Item and choose Labels.

    Legend Item

    Options to modify the label text become available.

  19. Change the following text parameters (if you don't remember where each parameter is, consult steps 8 through 10):
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Size: 10 pt
    • Color: Gray 70%
    • Outline color: No color
    • Letter spacing: 5%
  20. Click Apply. Adjust the legend's size and position to center it under the inset map.

    Final inset map

    Your inset map is complete.

Add a title and subtitle

Next, you'll add a title and subtitle to your map. This text will appear above the map and will provide the most important information for understanding what the map shows. You'll add both the title and subtitle using text rectangles, similar to how you created the inset map title.

  1. In the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Text and choose Rectangle (Rectangle might already be chosen).
  2. Draw a long rectangle that spans the top part of the map.

    When drawing rectangles, dashed lines may appear to guide you. You can use these lines to center your drawing.

  3. In the rectangle, delete the placeholder text and type Bombing Missions of the Vietnam War. Click outside the rectangle to save the text.

    The text is small and uses a generic font. You'll make it big and eye-catching.

  4. In the Format Text pane, under General, change Name to Title Text.

    If the Format Text pane isn't open, you can reopen it. In the Contents pane, right-click the item you want to format and choose Properties.

  5. Near the top of the pane, click Text Symbol.
  6. Change the following text parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Bold
    • Size: 37 pt
    • Color: Gray 80%
    • Outline color: No color
    • Horizontal alignment: Center
    • Letter spacing: 4%
  7. Click Apply. Resize and move the text rectangle to center it at the top of the layout (use the measurement guides or the Align button to center it exactly).

    Title text

    You'll repeat many of the same steps to add the subtitle.

  8. Create another text rectangle below the title. Give the rectangle the following text:

    Between 1965 and 1975, the United States and its allies dropped millions of bombs on Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. This map, created from digitized mission reports, shows recorded bombing sorties that have available geographic data. It is a visual record of one of the largest aerial bombardments in history.

  9. In the Format Text pane, change the text rectangle's Name to Subtitle Text.
  10. Change the following text parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Bold
    • Size: 16 pt
    • Color: Gray 70%
    • Outline color: No color
    • Letter spacing: 4%
  11. Click Apply. Resize and move the text rectangle to center it exactly in the layout.

    Subtitle text

Add text annotations

While your title and subtitle give a good introduction to your map, you'll add even more information in the form of text annotations. You'll use these annotations to describe four specific bombing campaigns carried out during the war, which will help explain spatial patterns in the data and give more historical information. You don't want the annotations to visually interfere with the data, so you'll place them around the periphery of the layout and use leader lines to link each annotation to the relevant area of the map.

  1. Create a small text rectangle in the center-left part of the layout, just south of western Laos.

    First annotation title

    This text rectangle will contain the title of annotation, which will give the title and years of the bombing operation conducted in north-central Laos.

  2. Replace the placeholder text with Operation Barrel Roll (1964-1973). Add a line break between the name of the operation and the years of the operation so that they appear on two separate lines.

    The annotations and text provided in this lesson aren't mandatory. Feel free to create your own annotations, drawing attention to aspects of the Vietnam War you find interesting.

    While you've already been renaming all of the text objects so they show up with distinct names in the Contents pane, it's especially important to rename your annotation text objects because you'll be adding eight of them: four titles and four descriptions.

  3. In the Format Text pane, change the text object's Name to Operation Barrel Roll: Title.
  4. Apply the following changes to the text symbol parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Bold
    • Size: 10 pt
    • Color: Gray 80%
    • Outline color: No color
  5. If necessary, move and resize the text rectangle.

    Next, you'll add the description of the bombing operation.

  6. Draw a larger text rectangle under the annotation title you just created. Replace the placeholder text with the following description:

    Over the course of the Vietnam War, more than 2 million tons of bombs were dropped on Laos alone. Many of those munitions fell on the Plain of Jars, an archaeologically significant landscape harboring communist Pathet Lao insurgents. Per capita, Laos remains the most heavily bombed country in the world. Many of these bombs failed to detonate on impact. Unexploded ordnance continues to maim and kill Laotian civilians each year.


  7. Change the name of the text object to Operation Barrel Roll: Description. Apply the following changes to the text symbol parameters:
    • Font name: Century Gothic
    • Font style: Regular
    • Size: 8.5 pt
    • Color: Gray 80%
    • Outline color: No color
  8. If necessary, move and resize the text rectangle.

    First annotation

    You want the annotation to be visually connected to the location of the bombing mission, which is the dense cluster of bombings in central Laos. You'll create a simple line to connect the text to the location it describes.

  9. In the Insert tab, in the Graphics group, click Line (make sure the straight line style is chosen).

    Line button

  10. Click the layout once, just above the annotation title, to place the first line vertex. Then, double-click the high-bombing area in north-central Laos to place the second vertex and finish the line.

    Annotation line

    You'll change the line's name to keep it distinct from the lines you'll make in the future, as well as the line's color to better match the map color scheme.

  11. Confirm that the line is selected on the layout. In the Format Line pane, change Name to Operation Barrel Roll: Line.
  12. Near the top of the pane, click Symbol. If necessary, click Properties. In the Layers tab, under Appearance, change the Color to Gray 80%.

    Line color

    Although this color is only slightly less dark than the default black color, it will stand out less in the map.

  13. Click Apply.

    Now that you've completed one annotation, the others will be much easier to make. Rather than make new text rectangles and lines, you'll copy and paste the existing layout elements, rearrange them on the layout, and change the text. This way, you won't have to set all the same parameters over and over again. To make copying and pasting the layers easier, as well as making sure the layout elements are organized in the Contents pane, you'll create a group for all three elements.

  14. In the Contents pane, hold Ctrl and click all three Operation Barrel Roll layout elements (Line, Description, and Title). Right-click the selection and choose Group.

    Group layout elements

  15. Expand the new group and rename it Operation Barrel Roll.
  16. Right-click the group and choose Copy. Right-click the name of the layout and choose Paste.

    The new group is added to the layout and the Contents pane. On the layout, the new group exactly overlaps with the old group, so you can't distinguish it yet.

  17. Rename the group (and its constituent layers) Operation Rolling Thunder.

    A quick way to rename layers in the Contents pane is to click them once to select them, then click them a second time to edit them (make sure there's at least a second or two between each click).

  18. Click the group name to select all elements of the group. Drag the group elements to the upper-right corner of the layout, under the subtitle.

    Annotation copy

  19. In the Contents pane, right-click Operation Rolling Thunder: Title and choose Edit Text. Change the text to Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), with a line break between the name of the operation and the years of the operation.
  20. Change the description to the following text:

    Operation Rolling Thunder, the United States' sustained bombing campaign against North Vietnam, aimed "to persuade the North Vietnamese to quit the war, or failing that, to entice them to the negotiating table to arrange a compromise settlement of the problems in Southeast Asia."

    Source: Drew, Col. Dennis M.

  21. If necessary, adjust the size of the text objects so all text is visible.

    Lastly, you'll adjust the line and move the text boxes so that they are connected to the location of the bombing operation.

  22. Select the line. Drag the handles and move the object to connect the annotation title to the area of coastal Vietnam direction east pf the cluster of bombs in north-central Laos.

    Second annotation


    There's no exactly correct location for any of the annotations. Feel free to adjust the annotation locations in whatever way you think looks best.

  23. Follow the same procedure to create the third annotation, using the following text and location:

    Title: Operation Steel Tiger (1965-1968)

    Description: Operation Steel Tiger targeted the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which served as the North's primary supply line into South Vietnam. Snaking through the rugged terrain of neighboring Laos and Cambodia, the trail allowed North Vietnamese forces to covertly move personnel and supplies with relative impunity. Despite persistent attempts to destroy the supply line through saturation bombing, the trail operated almost continuously until the end of the war.


    Location: The spindly network of bombing lines between southern Laos and central Vietnam, just north of Da Nang.

    Third annotation

  24. Follow the same procedure to create the fourth annotation, using the following text and location:

    Title: Operation Menu (1969-1970)

    Description: In Spring 1969, the United States began a secretive bombing campaign in eastern Cambodia, conducted without the knowledge of the American public or Congress. After a year, government whistleblowers exposed the campaign, and it was abruptly terminated.


    Location: The scattered bombing missions around Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh.

    Fourth annotation

Print the map

Your layout is almost complete. You'll take one last moment to add any finishing touches to it, then you'll print it out to show others.

  1. If you'd like, adjust any of the map elements until everything is perfect.

    Final layout

  2. On the ribbon, click the Share tab. In the Print group, click Layout.

    Print button

    The Print window opens.

  3. Confirm your printer and print settings (depending on your printer, you may need to change the paper size to 11 x 17 inches or 279 x 432 millimeters).
  4. Click Print.
  5. After your map finishes printing, save the project.

You've created a finished print map that looks good and is easy to read even for users who aren't experts on the Vietnam War. To make your layout, you added a layer of bombing missions from a CSV file and then symbolized them. You also added reference information from Living Atlas and labeled them appropriately. Then, you created a time series chart and hexagon bin inset map to provide more information about your data. Finally, you arranged all of your elements in a print layout, prioritizing visual clarity and aesthetics. Share your printed map with your friends or coworkers―or even hang it up on the wall!

You can find more lessons in the Learn ArcGIS Lesson Gallery.