I have added four data frames on a single canvas. Within ArcMap environment everything works perfectly but when I export the map to .eps or .pdf or .jpeg two of them are working properly while the other two show a white background which destroys the look of the map. Properties of the dataframes are same.

How do I fix this?

enter image description here


5 Answers 5


This is a known issue: http://support.esri.com/es/knowledgebase/techarticles/detail/17336

Basically it's a problem with using a raster layer in the inset maps. If you can only use vectors on your insets the transparency works.


I have a version 10.2.1 and tested exporting a dataframe (inset of Ontario) superimposed over a main dataframe and found that there are no issues any of the above-mentioned file types; PDF, EPS, JPG, TIFF (Example bellow)

If I remember correctly some graphic-related transparency issues were addressed in the 10.2.1 version.

If you do not have access to this version you could try:

Exporting to Adobe Illustrator "AI" format, then locate and delete the particular frame fill and re-save the illustrator file as EPS / PDF.


Exporting the map and the other data frames separately while keeping the same main layout extent and assembling the separate images/graphics in Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw or similar depending on what file type you choose. Personally, this is what I would do if I was preparing a map for a publication because in post-processing it gives me way more options to make the inset stand out (transparencies, blending, drop shadow, etc.)

Example: PDF, JPEG, EPS, AI, TIFF superimposed data frame all exported as the following in version 10.2.1 enter image description here


This has been an issue for the past 2 versions of Desktop and no Service Pack addresses the issue.

You can export to PNG as you have done and change the DPI to 300 for a better resolution.


I've got a bit of a workaround. While in layout view, I used the Microsoft Snipping tool (under Accessories) to "snip" pictures of the two additional data frames I was trying to overlay on my map. I saved the snips as pictures, then removed the additional data frames. I then added the snips back to my map as pictures where I had once had the additional data frames. You lose some of the clarity in the labels but it saved me from trying to do the same thing over and over hoping for a different result. Hope this helps!


I propose a workaround to avoid the transparency issue. Use the clip option in the dataframe properties > data frame in order to clip your small images based on your shapefile. Once you are done, manually draw a graphic rectangle around your data frame. By the way, you could use "extent rectangle" to locate your dataframes on the main dataframe.


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