I am new to ArcGis and I am currently taking a course. In one of the exercises Im supposed to copy a dataframe from the table of contents in ArcMap ( in data view) back into the table of contents so there are two copies. I am supposed to right click on the data frame name, select copy. Then go to the edit menu and select paste. Every time I have done this nothing happens. I tried on another person's ArcMap and it worked. I tried checking off the 'spatial analysis' box in the customize--> extensions menu but that did nothing. Any ideas?

  • 2
    As usual, restart ArcGIS and try again. Your instructions look fine, don't think you need to be in data view though.
    – timlohnes
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 20:33
  • 1
    I'm not sure if this is what you are trying to accomplish, but you can use Insert menu - Data Frame, then right click that data frame - New Group Layer then copy all of the layers from your original data frame - right click New Group Layer - Paste Layer(s).
    – KFP
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 13:21
  • You have to go into Layout View and then it works.
    – user76413
    Commented Jun 19, 2016 at 8:03
  • I had a similar problem in ArcMap 10.5.1, but it was because I was not in layout view. I assume this issue was fixed in 10.5 or 10.4?
    – Steve T.
    Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 14:48

3 Answers 3


Unfortunately, you've run into BUG-000088466, in which you can't copy and paste a data frame in ArcGIS 10.3.1. The suggested workaround is what @KFP said: copy and paste your layers into a new data frame. That won't copy any properties you may have set on the original data frame, so you'll have to set those manually.


Another work-around until the bug is fixed is to start a second instance of ArcMap, then drag the data frame you with to copy into the new table of contents (thus creating a copy in the new map doc). Once it has copied in the new table of contents, you can simply drag it back to the original map document contents.


You can do this from the Layout View using the following process:

  1. Select your data-frame in the layout view.
    enter image description here
  2. Right-Click > Copy (or Ctrl+C)
    enter image description here
  3. Right-Click > Paste (or Ctrl+V)
    enter image description here

Your data-frame will have been copied in the layout and show as a second data-frame in the Table of Contents

enter image description here

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