I'm building a static map, and want to center text in a table I've added to the layout. How can this be accomplished in ArcGIS Desktop?

  • 1
    – FelixIP
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 1:33
  • 1
    Have you considered creating your table in Word and inserting the table that way? If you need to make changes you can go back and change the Word document. The formatting should be pretty easy that way.
    – Adam Kara
    Commented Mar 18, 2016 at 17:26
  • @Adam Kara. I am curious how you would bring the Word document into Arcmap? I think I would take a screen shot of the table, save it as an image, and float it on top of the layout. You could also use Excel, especially since it talks to Arcmap better. I think that would be even easier and faster.
    – RHB
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 3:10
  • I took your advice, made the table in MS Excel 2016, and copied it into the layout view. Easiest way to make what I wanted. Commented Mar 21, 2016 at 21:16

3 Answers 3


Possible workaround is using 2nd dataframe as ‘table’.

It’s enough to create vertical string of points from any table (doesn’t matter if it is actual geography or not) using approach I described here and "display" it in dataframe, e.g. 0 size point, white color

Next step – calculate field, e.g. Label using something like:

'|{:^15}|{:^15.3f}|{:^15.3f}| '.format( !COMPKEY! , !Invert!, !LID! )

And label vertical points, using this field and non true type font, e.g Lucinda Console:

enter image description here

Adding field headers is not a big deal. Simple text labels will do..

Because 2nd data frame supports DDP definition query it opens floodgate of opportunities in automation, with table displayed next to map.


For maximum flexibility when adding tables to layouts, I think you will need to look at Adding Table to Layout View using ArcPy? There you would be able to center justify your text elements.

Otherwise, if you if you are restricting yourself to the method described on the Adding a table to a layout page of the Help, you will be restricted to its Appearance options which do not include Center Justification for fields.

Since answering this question in 2016, an eLearning course named Challenging times with Python and ArcPy for ArcGIS Pro has been released and that takes students through the code needed to implement a technique for using point and polygon feature classes in a separate map and map frame to outline and label a table-like feature class using ArcGIS Pro. Since the text in the table cells is actually labelling of point features the use of a center-center anchor point will achieve the center justification (both horizontal and vertical) that you are after.

Disclaimer: I am the developer and presenter of the course mentioned above.


I had the same issue and just put spaces in front of the text in the Attribute Table to approximate centering.

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