Convert a web map into a print map

Open the web map in ArcGIS Pro

Sometimes you will start a map with ArcGIS Online and then realize that you need to also access some features that are only available in desktop software. You can open the web map in ArcGIS Pro and continue your work there.

  1. Open the Ancient cities in Africa web map.

    A map appears, showing the locations of 37 ancient cities in Africa. This map was created from a list of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Africa on Wikipedia. If you want to learn how to make this map, try the lesson Convert a list of historic places into a map.

    Map of ancient cities in Africa

    You need to create a printed version of this map. You can print directly from ArcGIS Online, but in this lesson you'll open the map in ArcGIS Pro first so you can take advantage of projections, labeling properties, and layout design. Moving into ArcGIS Pro allows you to create a version of the map that is designed for print media.

  2. In the web browser's address bar, highlight and copy the string of characters at the end of the URL, after the = character.

    GUID highlighted in browser address bar.

    This string is the web map's item ID.

  3. Start ArcGIS Pro. If prompted, sign in using your licensed ArcGIS account.
    Note:

    If you don't have ArcGIS Pro or an ArcGIS account, you can sign up for an ArcGIS free trial.

  4. Under New, click Map.

    Map template button

  5. In the Create a New Project window, for Name, type Ancient cities in Africa print. Optionally, choose a new location for your project. Click OK.

    Create a New Project window

    A map appears, but it is not the one you'll use. You'll open your web map instead.

  6. In the Catalog pane, click Portal and click the ArcGIS Online tab.

    The Portal and ArcGIS Online tabs in the Catalog pane

  7. In the search bar, paste the item ID that you copied earlier (39af22bac6fb421c84ce72773928bc02) and press Enter.
  8. In the search results, right-click the Ancient cities in Africa web map and click Add And Open.

    Add And Open option in the Ancient cities in Africa context menu

    The map of cities in Africa appears.

Change the coordinate system

The map currently uses the Web Mercator projection, which is a practical choice for making web maps. But now that you are making a static map, you can choose a more appropriate projection for representing Africa.

  1. In the Contents pane, right-click the Ancient cities in Africa map and click Properties.

    Properties option in the Ancient cities in Africa context menu

  2. In the Map Properties window, click the Coordinate Systems tab.

    You'll choose a conformal projection, so the shape of Africa and features within it appear true. But you'll choose a projection that is designed specifically for mapping Africa, so area and distance distortions in that continent will be minimal.

    Note:

    You can learn more about choosing appropriate projections in the lesson Choose the right projection.

  3. In the Search box, type Africa and press Enter.
  4. In the XY Coordinate Systems Available list, expand Projected Coordinate System, Continental, and Africa.
  5. Click Africa Lambert Conformal Conic and click OK.

    Africa Lambert Conformal Conic selected as current XY coordinate system.

    The map redraws with the new projection. The northern hemisphere is stretched, but Africa is well represented.

Make a layout

Next, you'll create a layout. Layouts provide you with more control over the final presentation of your map and allow you to add surround information, such as legends, images, and scale bars. The only surround information you need for this map is a title and some text to credit the data source.

  1. On the ribbon, click the Insert tab. In the Project group, click New Layout.
  2. In the layout gallery, under ANSI – Portrait, choose Letter.

    Letter option in the layout gallery

    The first thing you'll add to the layout is a title.

  3. On the ribbon, in the Graphics and Text group, click the Rectangle text button.

    Rectangle text button on the Insert tab of the ribbon

  4. Click and drag on the layout to draw a rectangle near the top of the page.
  5. Type or copy and paste the following:

    Ancient Cities in Africa

    Some of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Africa

    Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_continuously_inhabited_cities

    Text added to the layout.

  6. Click outside of the text box to stop editing. Click the text box to select it.

    You'll format the text so it looks like a title.

  7. On the ribbon, click the Format tab. In the Text Symbol group, change the font to Candara.
    Note:

    If you don't have the Candara font installed, use any other font of your choice.

  8. Click Regular and choose Bold. Click the center Font Alignment button.

    Font properties set to Bold and center-aligned on the Format tab of the ribbon.

  9. In the text box, highlight the first line of text. On the ribbon, change the font size to 36 pt.

    Font size set to 36 pt on the Format tab of the ribbon.

  10. Change the font size of the middle line of text to 18 pt.
  11. If necessary, resize and reposition the text box so there is some white space above and below the text.

Add the map to the layout

Next, you'll add the map to the layout and control its position and scale.

  1. On the ribbon, click the Insert tab. In the Map Frames group, click Map Frame.

    Map Frame button on the Insert tab of the ribbon

  2. Click either of the options under Ancient cities in Africa.
  3. Click one of the bottom corners of the layout page and drag to create a rectangle that fills the entire space below the title.

    Layout with title and map

    You'll resize and reposition the map so it fills the available space.

  4. Below the layout view, in the scale box, type 38,000,000 and press Enter.
  5. On the layout, right-click the map and click Activate.

    Activate option in the map's context menu

    Now you can interact with the map.

  6. Pan on the map to position Africa in the center of the page.
    Tip:

    To pan and zoom on the layout instead of the map, press and hold the 1 key. If you accidentally zoom on the map, retype 38,000,000 in the scale box.

  7. Above the layout view, click the Back to Layout link.

    Back to Layout link above the layout view

    Now that you've chosen the scale and extent that you want for your map, you'll constrain the layout so you don’t accidentally move it later.

  8. If necessary, click the map to select it.
  9. In the Format Map Frame pane, click the Display Options tab.
    Tip:

    If the Format Map Frame pane is not visible, right-click the map and click Properties.

  10. For Constraint, choose Fixed center and scale.

    Constraint set to Fixed center and scale in the Format Map Frame pane.

    Now, when you activate the map, you'll be able to edit it, but you won't be able to pan or zoom.

    The map has a black border, which is unnecessary, so you'll remove it.

  11. In the Format Map Frame pane, click the Display tab. Under Border, change Symbol to 0 pt.

    Border symbol set to 0 points in the Format Map Frame pane.

Configure labels

One of the advantages of static maps over web maps is that the map-maker has full control over the map labels. These can be repositioned for legibility and to make room for more labels in crowded parts of the map. You'll configure some automated labeling properties for your map before converting the labels to graphics so they can be edited manually.

  1. In the Contents pane, right-click the Ancient cities in Africa layer and click Labeling Properties.

    Labeling Properties option in the layer's context menu

    The Label Class pane appears. First, you'll change the font of the labels to match the map's title.

  2. Click the Symbol tab. Expand Appearance and for Font name, choose Candara.

    Font name set to Candara on the Symbol tab of the Label Class pane.

  3. At the bottom of the pane, click Apply.

    There is a large offset between the labels and the points on the map, which makes it harder to tell which label goes with which point. The extra space needed also means that there's not enough room to label every city.

    Five cities in western Africa with three labels placed far from the points

    You'll adjust some labeling properties so more labels can fit more clearly on the map.

  4. In the Label Class pane, click the Position tab. For Placement, choose Best position.

    Placement set to Best position on the Position tab of the Label Class pane.

    A few more labels appear on the map, although the spacing is still too large.

    Five cities in western Africa with five labels placed far from the points

  5. In the Label Class pane, for Measure offset from, choose Feature geometry. For Preferred offset, choose 4 Points.

    Offset text placement properties

    The labels draw closer to their points, although some of them are still difficult to read, because there isn't enough room.

    Five cities in western Africa with five labels placed close to the points

    Static maps don't have pop-ups, so you want to make sure every city has a legible label. You'll convert the labels to graphics so you can reposition the crowded ones manually.

  6. In the Contents pane, right-click the Ancient cities in Africa layer, point to Convert Labels, and click Convert Labels To Graphics.

    Convert Labels To Graphics option in the layer's context menu

    The Geoprocessing pane appears. The parameters for the Convert Labels To Graphics tool are already filled in.

    Convert Labels To Graphics tool in the Geoprocessing pane

  7. Click Run.

    A new group layer, named GroupGraphics, was added to the Contents pane. The map did not appear to change, but in fact, the labels are all graphic objects now which are no longer tied to their geographic features.

    Note:

    You can't relink the graphic text to geographic features. If you need to return to the geographically aware labels, turn off the GroupGraphics layer and turn labeling back on for the Ancient cities in Africa layer.

  8. Right-click the map and click Activate.
  9. On the ribbon, click the Graphics tab. In the Edit group, click the Select button.

    Select button on the Graphics tab of the ribbon

  10. On the map, click a label to select it. Drag to move the label into a new position.

    Lagos label selected on the map.

  11. Move any of the labels that appear cluttered to you. Press and hold the 1 key to pan or zoom.
  12. Above the layout view, click the Back to Layout link.

Export the layout as a .pdf file

The map layout is complete. To finish, you'll export it as a .pdf file that can be shared and printed more easily.

  1. On the ribbon, click the Share tab. In the Output group, click the Export Layout button.

    Export Layout button on the Share tab of the ribbon

  2. In the Export Layout pane, for File Type, choose PDF.
  3. For Name, click the Browse button and choose a location. For Name, type Ancient cities in Africa. Click Save.
  4. Uncheck Clip to graphics extent.

    This option will cut off the white space at the top of the page.

    Export Layout pane

  5. For Compression, choose the following properties:
    • Uncheck Output as image.
    • For Image compression, choose Adaptive.
    • For Quality, choose 80.
    • Check Compress vector graphics.

    Export compression settings.

    These settings will ensure that your vector text and graphics are not converted to raster images, and that the file size is kept relatively low.

  6. For Resolution, choose 300 DPI.

    Resolutions higher than 300 DPI are not visibly noticeable on printed documents. Lower resolutions might appear pixelated.

  7. For Raster resample, choose 2.
  8. Check Embed fonts.

    This will ensure that if you open the document on a computer that doesn't have the Candara font installed, it will still work.

  9. Leave the other check boxes unchecked. For Layers and attributes, choose None.

    Export Layout pane settings.

  10. Click Export.
  11. When exporting is complete, click View exported file.

    Final layout with title and map

Web and static maps offer different advantages and have different challenges. If your map begins in one form, you are not restricted to it. In this lesson, you converted a web map into a static map, and took advantage of some of the benefits of that form, including projections, layout design, and controlled labels. You learned how to find content from ArcGIS Online within ArcGIS Pro, configure labeling properties, convert labels to graphics, and export a .pdf file.

To learn more about creating static map layouts, try the lesson Design a layout for a thematic map in ArcGIS Pro.

You can find more cartography lessons on the How to make a map page.