Is there an easy way to create a polygon that matches the data frame in my page layout?

I'm trying to set up data driven pages and want to have it key off of polygons that frame the boundaries for each page. I would like to see them as polygons so that I can re-position as necessary and quickly visualize what will appear on each page.

2 Answers 2


I was wondering about the same but found that there is no such out-of-the-box tool.

I made an add-on for this. You can download it here: http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=a9b032f739254ebeb6221c9294ebc886


From the ArcGIS online help under the "Data Frame" class, DataFrame example 4 shows you how to do this:

The following script converts a data frame's extent object into a polygon feature so that it can be used with the SelectLayerByLocation_management function.

import arcpy
mxd = arcpy.mapping.MapDocument(r"C:\Project\Project.mxd")
df = arcpy.mapping.ListDataFrames(mxd, "Transportation")[0]
lyr = arcpy.mapping.ListLayers(mxd, "Accidents", df)[0]

#The DataFrame extent object is converted into a polygon feature so it can be used with the SelectLayerByLocation function.

dfAsFeature = arcpy.Polygon(arcpy.Array([df.extent.lowerLeft, df.extent.lowerRight, df.extent.upperRight, df.extent.upperLeft]),
arcpy.SelectLayerByLocation_management(lyr, "INTERSECT", dfAsFeature, "", "NEW_SELECTION")

del mxd

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