Geographic Information Systems Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for cartographers, geographers and GIS professionals. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

As you can see from the image below, my enormous scale for traffic pattern shadows the other objects in the legend. Are there ways to reduce the size of object portrayed in the scale?

Image issue

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

alt text

tick 'Scale Symbols when a reference scale is set' [you will need a reference scale set first]

share|improve this answer
it seems that this options changes the scale of the object in the map as well. I just want to change the scale in the legend; unless I'm missing something – dassouki Dec 14 '10 at 14:57

This can get pretty confusing when you use the same document to print differrent scale or paper sizes.

What I do is to uncheck all of the boxes in the map connection section shown in mapperz's scrnshot.

Then I select the layer that I am having problems with and right click copy.

Then go to the top of the TOC (table of contents) [or to the top entry in the active data frame the legend is for] and right click on the data frame name. select paste layer/s.

Now modify the size of the pasted layer (my MO is to move this layer just below the original it was copied from, change it's name slightly and turn it off. (the naming convention I use is to put _ underbars in the display and put spaces in the legend copy)

Then again in the legend dialog box find the new layer in the list and add it. You will have to remmber to change it each time you change the symbology of the original (or the layer that is actually turned on).

Yes this system can be hassle to manage but it makes for a nice legend that doesn't change everytime you add data or modify the order of the layers in the TOC.

share|improve this answer

I just had this problem myself. I just right clicked the legend on the map and went to 'convert to graphics'. After that it is necessary to right click the item/items in legend again and click 'ungroup'. You may have to ungroup a couple times. After this it allows you to click and drag the corners of the symbol patch, allowing you to modify the symbol size (in the legend) to your preference. Good luck.


share|improve this answer
Yes Kevin, that's an excellent solution; however, it makes managing large maps a daunting task. – dassouki Jun 1 '11 at 16:53

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.