Ask A Cartographer

How do I make the legend box transparent?

November 03 2009 | 2 comments
Categories: Cartographic Effects, Map Elements

I am in the layout view of ArcGIS - ArcMap 9.3. The legend box is coloured with a grey background at the moment but I would like to make it transparent so part of the map can be seen below it. Is there a way of doing this?

Mapping Center Answer:

That cannot be done as stated.  Graphic elements in the layout do not support transparency.  The way to achieve the effect you want is to create a new polygon feature class and add it to your map--make its symbol whatever color and level of transparency you want--then use the Rectangle tool on the Advanced Editing toolbar to draw a rectangle around your legend.

How do I make the legend box transparent? posted by Claude Duncan on Nov 17 2009 11:36AM
When creating the legend from the start in the legend wizard by clicking the next button the third window allows you to set the background to hollow. You have to scroll down on the list. If you leave it on no color it may set it to default white or gray.

If you created the legend already just double-click and go to the frame tab. The background color drop-down list is there.
Edit the legend properties posted by Aileen Buckley on Nov 30 2009 3:22PM
You can also edit the legend properties, once you have inserted the legend. Double click the legend in Layout View, click the Frame tab, on the Background drop down select and you will have a "transparent" background to your legend.

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