50% of my job is creating map figures in ArcGIS, most of which end up being inserted in Word documents. We use A4 MXD templates, but the maps end up much smaller when inserted into a report. So it seems a bit silly using A4 templates, when the figures end up being resized.

Taking into account 'standard' margins in word processing software (and using A4, not ANSI paper size), what is the optimal page size in which to export a map? They may also have a small caption beneath. I may have just answered my own question, after I go and measure standard margin sizes... But hoping there may be some useful insights from fellow industry colleagues.

  • 2
    I voted to close this answer as it's not GIS related, but you need to work out the size your map will be when inserted in the report and use this exact size in arcmap so you won't need to resize it
    – J.R
    Jul 9, 2020 at 8:54
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    I would argue it is GIS-related as it directly involves GIS software and map-making. But agree it's not a hugely worthwhile question. It may be interesting to some however.
    – Dùn Caan
    Jul 9, 2020 at 11:31

1 Answer 1


A4 paper is 210mm x 297mm.

The MS Word (2007 onward) default margins are 25.4mm (1") all round.

For a portrait A4 page, you could use a 159.2mm wide layout (210mm - 25.4 x 2). You could then use a layout size of:

  • 159.2mmm x ~110mm for a small landscape map or
  • 159.2 x 135.8 for a half page map or
  • 159.2 x 246.2 for a full page portrait (297mm - 25.4 x 2)

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