Using Arcmap 10.4.1 I'd like to temporarily disable on-the-fly projecting, so as to be able to visually see the spatial offset between two vector layers with differing CRS and/or transformations. A search through the Arc help system, as well as an internet search, turns up nothing.

QGIS has a checkbox that can turn on/off on-the-fly projecting (which works great!), and I'm hoping for something similar in Arc.

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    I am trying to do the same thing. This solution didn't work for me. ArcMap still automatically transformed the data to align the two data sets - one in nad27 and the other in nad83. I somehow got this to work once in ArcMap but cannot repeat it. I've cleared the display cache but can't repeat. It's just taking a set of lat long coordinates. Display XY coordinates and then save the shapefile of points without any projection information. Make a copy. In copy 1, project define as NAD 27. In copy 2 project define as NAD 83. Sep 19, 2017 at 11:31

1 Answer 1


It's not particularly obvious but it can be done per data frame:

  • Open your data frame properties;
  • Click the coordinate system tab;
  • Click the dropdown next to the coordinate system (globe) button;
  • Click "Clear".

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    Sorry for the delay, @Luke. When do I apply your solution: 1) Before any layers are added, or 2) after the first layer has been added, or 3) after all layers have been added? Thanks!
    – Stu Smith
    Nov 28, 2018 at 20:06
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    My testing shows that option #3 is correct, but I wanted to confirm with you.
    – Stu Smith
    Nov 28, 2018 at 20:31
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    Yep #3 as ArcMap will (I think but can't test) change the data frame coordinate system when you add data.
    – user2856
    Nov 28, 2018 at 20:42
  • I can confirm... @Luke's solution needs to be applied after all layers have been added.
    – Stu Smith
    Mar 6, 2020 at 14:23

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