I have this problem with different raster layers, in this instance it's land use data. In my layout, and in a rendered PDF of my map, the legend entry for the raster layer has an ugly, thick gray border around my raster color patches. Here's how they look when rendered to PDF:

enter image description here

Sometimes it's even worse, and ArcGIS appears to randomly choose a thick border for some colors and a thinner, lighter one for others, making my legend very ugly. Here's another example in a finished PDF:

enter image description here

Here's what the same legend looks like in the ArcGIS layout. The border width looks the same, nothing like the PDF. The color differences are not as pronounced as in the PDF but you can see they're there:

enter image description here

Is there any way to edit or remove those gray borders? I've searched a bit online and the most recent thread I've found is this one from the ArcGIS forums, with a couple workarounds that I may resort to, but I'm hoping for a simpler solution.

FYI, my rasters' symbology is set to use Unique Values, but using Colormap gives the same results.

  • The outlines is one issue, and I see no solutions other than those pointed out in the linked forum post. Except I was able to ungroup the legend down to a point where I could eliminate the outline of the patch. As for the 'extra' thickness of the outline in a legend, particularly it varying, I am unable to replicate this. Mine are always consistent in ArcGIS, and with the pdf export I used as well. Perhaps it is a pdf creation issue? Or a different line style is being used (it looks like the line itself has outlines)? – Chris W May 14 '14 at 19:43
  • Yeah, the second example with the varying colors and widths is new to me as well. The whole problem appears to be that the line style is not something the user can edit or view in any way, unlike the line border of a vector symbol. – Dan C May 14 '14 at 19:57

Did some further digging, and it turns out this is a known bug at NIM-000130. There is a suggested coding workaround there. I did find some references to using old mxds or the size of the patch used (smaller makes it worse) causing the width difference, as well as a couple of other workarounds. Otherwise, the methods you originally linked to had some good (or the same) ideas. As it stands there is no way through the UI to remove the patch border for raster (I also tried creating a custom patch, for the record).

Forum Posts:

And a blog entry with another alternative method.

  • Seems like creating a vector polygon layer with the same symbology and using that in the legend instead of the raster might be the easiest workaround. – Dan C May 15 '14 at 1:50
  • @DanC Alternatively you could convert your raster to vector, but that's more about your overall process and use for the data. I've worked with some similar datasets (land cover or use, fire hazard ratings) where the data was distributed as vector though it was obviously generated from raster. I suppose it would depend on which you considered more efficient - running the conversion whenver the raster(s?) changes, or keeping a vector 'key' layer around. The key would probably be the route I'd go for multiple rasters. – Chris W May 16 '14 at 19:46

I was experiencing this same problem in ArcMap 10.3.1. For raster layers, some colors had a very thick border, while others were thin after exporting to pdf. The legend looked normal in ArcMap layout view.

I found a work-around by converting the legend to graphics. I did not need to alter the legend items at all, simply converting to graphics solved the problem.


You can edit or remove the outline in the raster symbology if you import the raster in question to a file geodatabase.

  1. Open ArcCatalog and browse to the folder where you want the geodatabase.
  2. Right-click on the folder, click New --> File Geodatabase
  3. Right-click on the database Import --> Raster datasets
  4. Browse to the location of the raster in the geodatabase. Clik "Add".

You can now edit or remove the outline from the symbology.

I just double-checked to be sure, and it works for me every time, also when converting to PDF.

I'm using ArcMap 10.4.1.


If you want to control the outline width size for raster, you can simply click on the color in the legend in the table of content (TOC) and change the outline width which is by default it is 1.00 to 0.50, or even 0.00 (No outline) or select the color and change it to No color, and it will be reflected on the legend in the layout view, as you can see below:

enter image description here

It works exactly similar to vector file except you cannot control the outline width from Layer Properties -> Symbology. You have to do it from the TOC.


Based on the comment from @DanC that whether it will also be correct after exporting to PDF, so here is the output from PDF file, although the colors in legend is different compared to the previous image because I closed the file. I only adjusted the first border of Cyan color:

enter image description here

The above steps were done using ArcGIS 10.4.

  • What version of ArcGIS are you using? I was on 10.2 when the question came up, I'm wondering if they fixed this. IIRC, I tried the fix you're describing at the time and it just didn't work in 10.2. Also, have you rendered to PDF to see if the legend appears the same as it does in Layout view? – Dan C Nov 10 '17 at 15:44
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    @DanC I updated my answer. I am using ArcGIS 10.4. Actually I did not notice that the border color in raster image cannot be changed in previous versions because I always use the way I described in my answer if I want to remove the border in the legend. Maybe it was added in ArcGIS 10.3 or in the versions before, but I am not sure. Also I am not sure if it was added as a feature, or modified if it was a bug. – ahmadhanb Nov 10 '17 at 17:50
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    Thanks! Seems like they fixed the bug mentioned in Chris W's answer. – Dan C Nov 10 '17 at 17:54

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