I have a python script that successfully runs from ArcMap 10.2. I was wondering if it would be possible to rewrite it so that it is a standalone script that prompts the user for the shapefile and then runs some analyses (e.g. buffer, tabulate intersection, intersect, etc.), changes layer's symbology properties using a preexisting lyr file, zooms to its extent, turns on and off other layers in the mxd TOC template depending on a specific conditions, changes the map title, and finally exports resulting map as a pdf.
The script is quite extensive and although much of the coding can be run as a standalone script, I am wondering if the section of the script dealing with manipulating the layout properties (legend, title) and the layers in the TOC as I want them to look so that I may create a map for exporting as a pdf can be done as a standalone script. It seems to me that some of these actions may only be possible inside an ArcMap session.