I have many projects (mxd) and I´d like to convert ANY "live" elements like legends, scale bars, scale texts etc. into graphic automatically using arcpy. Is there a way? In questions and answers I could not find anything which would help me with that.

These elements have their names, e.g. Legend, Scale Bar and so on. If I wouldn´t want to convert all of them, how do I select which element to convert? Because there can be more elements with the same name, for example 3 legends with "Legend" as the name of the element. Could anybody help?

ArcGIS for Desktop 10.1 Basic, Python 2.7

  • 1
    As far as I know you cant convert layout elements to graphics with arcpy. If you want to select specific elements you can use the ListLayoutElements() function with a wildcard like 'legend' to return a list of all the legend elements. Check this linkout for some more info on what you can do with layout elements and some best practices for naming elements. – landocalrissian Dec 11 '14 at 19:01

You can use arcobjects for this by grabbing the element envelope and converting it to graphic:

This example shows how to do it for legend element.

Converting Legend to IGraphicsComposite in C#

// Convert legend to graphics
IPageLayout pageLayout = mxDoc.PageLayout;
IActiveView activeView = (IActiveView) pageLayout;
IGraphicsContainer graphicsContainer = pageLayout as IGraphicsContainer;
IElement element = graphicsContainer.Next();
while (element != null)
    if (element is IMapSurroundFrame)
        IMapSurround mapSurround = ((IMapSurroundFrame)element).MapSurround;
        if (mapSurround is ILegend)
             ILegend legend = (ILegend)mapSurround;
             IGraphicsComposite graphComp = (IGraphicsComposite)legend;
             IEnumElement enumElem = graphComp.get_Graphics(activeView.ScreenDisplay, 

   element = graphicsContainer.Next();
  • Well, I´m not a C# programmer and as Chris R wrote there is no such solution with Python. As I cannot execute this code in C#, should I mark this answer as "accepted" even before trying? Thanks for your reply – jonlew Dec 16 '14 at 12:27

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