I was wondering if anyone knows how to increase an icon size on the legend without it increasing in size on the map. I have to print at A0, and when I look at the legend the icons for each type are quite small. Any attempt at increasing the size also increases it on the map.


I have tried what MAJ742 suggested - the legend does increase in size - but not the icons see attached image. I was looking to be able to enlarge the icons only on legend.

icons resizing

  • 2
    Have you tried using two layers with the symbols? One layer would have the symbols at the correct size for the map. The other layer would have large symbols for the legend. This other layer would be turned off in the table of contents.
    – kenbuja
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 17:12

12 Answers 12


The method we use is to have a duplicate copy of the layer just for the legend. After the map layer looks the way you want, just drag the layer from the TOC and on to the map to make a duplicate. We append '_map' to the name of the map layer version to differentiate between the two layers. Then the symbology size or width can be adjusted for each icon or line as needed. Some symbols seem to need to be adjusted larger or smaller to make them look right compared to the others in the legend. This gives you the larger symbols but you retain the dynamic nature of the legend.

  • 1
    +1 This is my preferred method for dealing with this problem.
    – Dan C
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 20:46
  • I use this approach for points as well
    – JWallace
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 22:06
  • 1
    This seems like such a hack to get something to work that should be built into the software. Commented Nov 23, 2017 at 16:15

In the legend properties (accessed by double clicking on the legend) go to the layout tab and there is an option to adjust the patch width and height (see below). That should change it on the legend and not the map.

The alternative is to make the entire legend bigger if you are printing on A0.

Adjust legend patch size

  • This is the easiest way to achieve OP's goal, and still maintains legend flexibility by avoiding the convert to graphics approach.
    – JWallace
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 20:11
  • 1
    I don't think this works for point layers, though.
    – Dan C
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 20:44
  • Ahh - thanks Dan. I didn't see that he was explicitly talking about points. I also use the approach described by Lemur for points.
    – JWallace
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 22:05
  • You can also change the size for individual layers. From Legend Properties/Items tab, right click the layer to change, select Properties. Check Override default patch size and adjust your width and height. This page is also helpful: desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/map/page-layouts/…
    – JMVDA
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 15:22

An alternative would be to go to "Layout View", right-click on your legend, and "convert to graphics", then you can "ungroup", and resize each graphic as you see fit. It should work for making them bigger on your final print out

  • 4
    While this would in theory work I would advise against using this method. If any of your symbology changes or you need to add a layer or even move or adjust the legend then you have to start from scratch and make sure everything is kept updated. Other people doing this to maps I've worked on has caused far more problems than it has solved.
    – MAJ742
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 16:37
  • It's only way i have seen to increase the actual icon that works so far for me.... may not be ideal, although there must be another way?
    – Nial
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 16:40
  • That's fair enough. Unless there is an actual solution your other options are either to use a vector symbol that will resize, or add in these as separate images and overlay them on the legend which will at least allow the other layers to update correctly.
    – MAJ742
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 16:52

For anyone who comes across this issue, I have found an even simpler solution. This works for us because we're printing a 36x48" paper map for a client, so the relative size of the symbols on the map (increasing from 12.00 pt to 18.00 pt) was not an issue. Without further ado:

The legend is a reflection of the layers you choose to display from the Table of Contents, and the symbology follows suit. If it will not distort the appearance of the symbols on your map, simply increase the size of your points via the properties dialog box (double-click on the symbology or open their properties dialog box manually from the Table of Contents). This will then increase the size of the symbology in the legend that displays on the map.

Hope this can help someone! It was my easiest solution that allows me to still work with the legend as a whole, and not have to convert the legend to graphics and then ungroup each graphic and edit its size, losing the functionality of the legend!

  • Copy the layer

  • set the display scale range for "don't show layer" when zoomed out beyond 1 inch, 1 foot, or something less you know won't show on print.

  • change symbology for the copied layer

  • display only copied layer for that symbol in legend.


No it does not work to set patch size with point layers to adjust legend size; my option is to leave legend as is and add a graphic icon on top of ArcMap's Legend. Odd, I know.


I want to follow-up on Lemur's suggestion. This is how I approach it (two layers, one with the symbology for mapping and the other for the legend), but I've been having trouble with BOTH of them in the map. THEN I found this little check box in the GENERAL tab of the LEGEND PROPERTIES: "Only display layers that are checked on in the Table of Contents." Checking this OFF allows you to symbolize one for the legend and the other for the map.


The answer is to do both. First, create a copy cat layer, making the point symbols in your legend larger. Bring your good map layer to the front so the second map (with the large icons) is hidden. Create the legend for the second map so in the legend the symbols are big. Convert that legend to a graphic. Remove the layer (bad map). The legend will still be there so that your point symbols will be big in the legend but small on the map.


In order to achieve full operational legend without converting to graphics you have to edit LegendItemTemplate, through ArcGIS API for Silverlight.

The approach is presented here by an ESRI staff member: https://geonet.esri.com/thread/40550


To preserve your symbology in the TOC, I would suggest you to insert a new Data Frame and copy layers to the Data Frame and that way you do not mess it around the original layers from the first Data Frame if you know what I mean... That way in the Data Frame you can always work on it outside the Layout View and work your way until what symbol you feel comfortable with.

I'd insert each layer as a only legend at a time and fix them...


For points, the easiest method is to do it external to the GIS program. First resize the font in your legend so that the relative size of text to symbol looks good. Then export your map at a large DPI. Open up the image in a simple image editor and select the legend and resize it. This is much quicker than many of the other solutions.


Just double click on legend entry and check off the box "Override default patch size".

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