I am using ArcGIS 10.1 and am trying to achieve a fairly uniform amount of white space between the first four legend items and am having difficulties pulling this off. All four items are separate shapefiles/layers and it would be hard for me to turn these into single layers with categories. I have had success adding space between the two "areas" by changing some of the values in the legend properties, but I cannot seem to figure out how to reduce the space between the two fire station layers. Any suggestions?

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  • 1
    The issue with the fire symbols may be related to what kind of symbol they are. If they are text/character markers, it's possible that the character location on a line (a font property) is causing the extra space. For example if the character is in the lower part of the line and you have a very large font size, there's going to be a large whitespace above it that is actually part of the character. If using a picture marker symbol this shouldn't happen unless the picture itself has extra whitespace somewhere.
    – Chris W
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 19:17

3 Answers 3


Two options:

  1. Modify the Legend>Layout>Gaps properties:

enter image description here

  1. Convert legend to graphic, ungroup, and manually space items (using Distribute>Horizontal method).

The only way I know of doing this is to convert the legend to a graphic: Right click on the legend in the Layout view > Convert to Graphics.

You can then right click on it again > Ungroup.

You can then individually move all the elements.

NOTE: This makes your legend static - i.e. if you change the symbology for a dataset or add new data to your map, the legend will not update.


Since these are all separate layers, I suggest using two legends with a split between legend 1 and legend 2 occurring between the Fire Station layer and the Operational Area Station layer. You can then manually arrange the spacing of the legends as you desire. This approach avoids converting to graphics, so your legends will still automatically update.

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