I want to make duplicates of my legend in ArcGIS 10.0 that have identical formatting/properties. Is there a way to copy+paste while preserving properties or a way to save legend properties as a model to apply (e.g. width between columns = 30; font size for layers=12 pt, etc)? Also, preserving the capacity to update giving map layers present and such functionality that is lost when converting to graphic.

For example, instead of preserving the patch width at 30 pt and the height at 15 pt, the patch size in the copied legend is width=290 pt and height=5 pt. Many other properties are also skewed (spacing between, font size for layer/heading/etc, ...).

Legend properties example

Context: I am working with a map in ArcGIS 10.0 for which I will be exporting multiple layouts as jpeg/pdf files. I would like to make copies of my legend to keep in the margins of the data layout view to keep track of changes for different maps. But when I right-click legend "copy" and then click elsewhere "paste", I lose ALL the formatting for my legend.

  • Can you please include a screenshot showing which properties/formatting you are losing? You can edit your question to include this information.
    – Midavalo
    Jul 20, 2017 at 15:19

2 Answers 2


According to the help page on legends, there is no mention of saving these settings, or creating a template you can reuse, unfortunately. http://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/map/page-layouts/working-with-legends.htm

By the way, I didn't have the same issue when I tried copy/pasting a legend I was trying this problem with, my legend kept the characteristics so perhaps you used different steps to do so.


If you convert your legend into a graphic you can then copy and paste to different MXDs. In some situations this may be useful.

  • This is not what I meant by maintaining properties (being editable and updating with map layers is important too). I have edited my post to clarify this. I have also since last year completely abandoned ArcGIS in favour of QGIS because of problems like these. Aug 28, 2018 at 17:04

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