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I have a map and an inset map. The content of the inset map's data frame is a direct copy and paste of the content of the main map. Both layers have (in order from bottom to top) a base map layer, a polygon feature class with 60% transparency, and a point feature class. When I export the map to any file format (pdf, png, bmp, jpeg), the transparency of the polygon feature class is preserved on the main map but on the inset map the polygon feature class is rendered opaque (0% transparency).

Why aren't both being rendered transparent?

Arcmap:

Arcmap renders the inset map with transparency

Export:

Export discards transparency of inset

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This is a known bug, considered as a limitation of ArcGIS Desktop:

Bug NIM005144: Maps that contain data frames that overlap other data frames or graphics elements are displayed in ArcMap Layout view as transparent. However, when they are printed or exported, the top data frame background is opaque white, obscuring the layer below.

As a workaround, you should use ArcGIS Pro. See the article mentioned in the bug description:

Bug: Data frame, inserted pictures, and inset map are not transparent on output

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