I'm reviewing a large dataset and I would like to be able to pan through it with the keyboard arrows, and somehow mark the areas that I've viewed. Is there a way do this more efficiently than dragging the mouse across the screen for every pan?


You could try creating a Fishnet and then pan/zoom to each square/rectangle in the fishnet by right-clicking on its table and selecting 'zoom to' or 'pan to'


The Fishnet will help you keep track of which areas you've been to and which areas you still need to check.

To use the keyboard to automatically zoom or pan to the next feature in the fishnet, use a python script similar to the one here:

Zoom to Shapefile attribute table row feature


To zoom to a feature, you can open up the layer's attribute table and double click on the box at the start of its row:

enter image description here

This unfortunately selects the feature, so it's not the most robust method. For more specialized methods you'll have to start making use of python and custom buttons.

To mark areas you've visited, I'd suggest a 'visited' feature class. Work in editing mode and drop points each time you're done in an area.


Or you can go to the ArcMap Customize menu and then hit the Customize mode which brings you a Customize dialog box and then go to the Commands tab. When you go there, Scroll down to the Pan/Zoom on the Categories and then to the right there is a list of Zoom... Highlight the Continuous Zoom and Pan and drag and drop of any one of the tool box above the Data/layout View....


I just tried the arrow keys In ArcMap and they appear to be panning without incident; but to clarify/confirm I am in Data View, with the Select Elements tool active, with the screen focus on the map. Most of the time, I hold the 'c' keyboard shortcut for mouse panning. Also, you can't go wrong with an honest bookmark when you need to mark and return to areas of interest.

  • Thanks for the advice, but I think I need to be more specific. I would like to be able to create a tool that I can assign to the keyboard arrows, similar to the 3D Analyst Pan tool, where each key pans 90%(to allow for some overlap) or so in corresponding direction and marks that location with an element box. I know it's possible because I used it in my last internship but didn't have the wherewithal to find out how it works. – John Jan 8 '15 at 15:47

You could set up a data driven pages project and then just click the arrows on the data driven pages toolbar to go from one extent to another to review the data. If you also want to edit the data you could switch to data view and still click through the extents or you could double click the layout frame to edit in the view.

As for marking your work some workarounds include: 1) open bookmarks manager and hit create at each "page" and get a unique if arcane default, 2) put your index layer in edit mode and at each "page" click in it to select it and put an x in a field in the attributes window, 3) use the create polygon from current extent add-in (unfortunately it has a popup box each time you create one) or 4) run through a series of extents and then update an attribute table in one calculation for all of them.


For constant panning and zooming on only slightly overlapping successive windows, go to customize > customize mode > commands > pan/zoom and drop the page down-left-right-up tools. You can then drag and drop these tools to your pan/zoom toolbar. enter image description here. Inside each zone, you can then use c, z and x keyboard shortcuts and use the go back to previous extent before continuing to the next zone.

In my opininion, this is the best way to do systemic review of a dataset. Just start at the top left corner of your study area and then move step by step. When I stop I create a bookmark so that I can track what I did from day to day.

If you have a topology, a good way to track where you've been is to display the dirty area (wait until the end before you validate), but this only work if you modify something, not if you just look and there is nothing to change. Alternatively, drawing a rectangular graphic where you've been is very quick.

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