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Is it possible to have multiple different map layouts (like the one accessed by clicking the little page icon at the bottom of the viewing panel) within one ArcGIS project?

I often find myself wanting to produce a number of different map outputs from one project, and this requires doing each one separately, and then 'undoing' it when I want to create the next one, making it difficult to go back and edit any earlier ones.

I'm sure that ArcGIS will have something like this, but I can't seem to find how to do it. Any ideas?

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I've added an arcgis-pro tag here because that is the application of ArcGIS for Desktop that now supports this. – PolyGeo Apr 13 '15 at 1:02

10 Answers 10

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Unfortunately and unbelievably to me, it's not possible out of the box. There may be some code floating around to make multiple layouts possible, but I haven't ever found any.

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I had a horrible suspicion that would be the answer. I find it quite unbelievable too! Oh well, a feature request for the next version I guess... – robintw Aug 6 '10 at 17:08

I know this question is about ArcGIS 9.3, but someone mentioned what is possible in ArcGIS 10. ArcGIS 10 has some new functionality that is similar to the 9.x DSMapbook developer sample that allows you to create a series of map pages, layouts, and map books. ArcGIS 10 calls this "Data Driven Pages."

Here are some intro help topics about Data Driven Pages:

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There's a plugin called dsmapbook that allows you to create multiple layouts, but it's not totally unconstrained, or that straightforward to use. I haven't used it for a while but it only seems to be available as a developer sample, for example here:

I can confirm that it works with Arcview 9.3 though.

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3 has mapbook packages for Arcmap 8.3 through 9.3, plus a little extra documentation and a place to complain about things that don't work (not so much help on the remedies unfortunately). Disclaimer: I maintain the site. – matt wilkie Aug 6 '10 at 22:02

Ever since ArcGIS 8.0 was released years ago, people have been screaming for this. Although over time it seems like most people either don't remember the beauty of multiple layouts in ArcView 3x, or they just never used 3x, so it's not so much of an issue anymore. We've been forced to learn to live without it. It has been rumored for years that they would introduce this feature in ArcMap, but alas, it has never come to fruition. I don't think it is in 10, is it? There are plugins you can buy that do enable this in ArcMap.

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v10 has Map Books. DSMapBook was great, but I see no future for it at 10. – Simon Aug 7 '10 at 6:12

DS Map Book is good for data in map series.

For Managing Multiple Layouts Maplogic has a solution [30 Day Trial]

Here is an Open Source project ArcMapBook now moved to google code:

ArcGIS 10 Does support multiple layouts using Strip Map Index Features (Cartography)

These can be edited with ArcPy (arcpy.mapping)

NOTE:Though you can adapt these steps for your own maps or map book, keep in mind that the steps cited in this example are specific for the sample map book shown above. Using these exact steps on a different set of maps may lead to unexpected results.


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I too remember the hollering that went on when ESRI did away with multiple layouts within a single project file. Honestly, I don't miss them. Instead of storing all my map layouts for a project in one file, I set up a project folder that contains all of the maps for that project. I start with a base map, and then just make changes to that map along the way, saving it as a new .mxd when I'm done. I typically produce anywhere from 12 to 30 resource and analysis maps per project, and find this method as efficient as multiple layouts were inArcView 3.x.

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I absolutely agree with this. I have one or more MXDs for creating/maintaining/processing data, and one MXD for each figure/map/map series. I use Data Driven Pages and arcpy.mapping for the map series, with great results. Having a separate MXD for each map keeps things efficient, as I only load the layers required for that map. And it's easy enough to have several iterations of ArcMap open at once, if I want to work with more than one map at a time or copy/paste between them. – Sarah North Mar 12 '13 at 19:22

I know this question was asked 4 years ago, but I guess good things come to those who wait. Esri unveiled ArcGIS Pro this year (currently available in beta) and plans to release it in Q4 along with the latest version of ArcGIS for Desktop. And, by popular demand, the new Pro application reintroduces the multiple-layout view. Read more here:

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Another strategy for living without multiple layouts is to get used to using layer files. They make it easy to grab a layer out of one map and drop it into another.

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I believe MPS-Atlas, which is part of the Production Line Tool Set (PLTS) extension, supports this, though (of course) it requires purchasing an extension.

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Map Atlas is for making a series of maps based on different geographic areas, for the same information. It doesn't help in creating various layouts for the same mapped area using, may be, different information or symbology.

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