I would like to update misc text in an active map window but can't seem to crack the code and I found some presentations that mention it can be done but the full code isn't there.

The following is from an ESRI presentation @ http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CCMQFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fproceedings.esri.com%2Fdvd%2Fuc%2F2010%2Fuc-index%2Fuc%2Fworkshops%2Ftw_1433.pdf&ei=2R3STZmoAefTiAKT9oTyCg&usg=AFQjCNH-wFZb1mgpnWrV1QKQD5ynZtikfg&sig2=UBLu89hwpAx72djEJggFJg

import arcpy
for textElm in arcpy.mapping.ListLayoutElements(mxd,"TEXT_ELEMENT"):
    if findText in textElm.text:
        textElm.text=textElm.text.replace(findText, replaceText)

I want to be able to enter text string "This is the old text" and replace with "this is the replacement text"

Simple find-->replace that word or notepad does but in an active ArcMap.

  • You should delete your previous answer on this question, gis.stackexchange.com/questions/5674/…
    – Andy W
    May 17, 2011 at 12:51
  • Andy, that post is a different script which has the required functionality but isn't working...so the two may help someone advise me on how to get the required full functionality. Best
    – GeorgeC
    May 18, 2011 at 3:19
  • if that is the case then you should open that answer as a new question. The format of the site is not to open new questions as answers to other peoples questions.
    – Andy W
    May 18, 2011 at 3:59

1 Answer 1


Here is a PSU link that searches and replaces for a certain text element within a given mxd (code sample below).

# Create a MapDocument object referencing the MXD you want to update
mxd = arcpy.mapping.MapDocument(r"C:\GIS\TownCenter_2009.mxd")

# Loop through each text element in the map document
for textElement in arcpy.mapping.ListLayoutElements(mxd, "TEXT_ELEMENT"):

    # Check if the text element contains the out of date text
    if textElement.text == "GIS Services Division 2009":

    # If out of date text is found, replace it with the new text
        textElement.text = "GIS Services Division 2010"
  • Thanks mate. It works great. Do you know if we can modify it to not only accept full match but partial map as well. For example I now have to change "Map Sheet 4 of 19" to "Map Sheet 05 of 19" rather than simply "Sheet 4" to "Sheet 05". Cheers.
    – GeorgeC
    May 18, 2011 at 0:47
  • how do you reset your text element to its original?
    – ziggy
    Mar 29, 2016 at 15:34
  • @ziggy, one option would be to write the old value(s) to text file or some custom configuration file. When you need to pull in an old value, you could call a custom function to pull the value out of the said file above.
    – artwork21
    Mar 29, 2016 at 16:20

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