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Neatline, border manipulation

February 12 2008 | 1 comment
Categories: Map Elements, Page Layout


I have seen some maps with neatline corners twisted or curled. My question is how do you do that? I was thinking that they may have use Adobe Illustrator to do that but, if so, where do you save the new neatline since the is in Access database. I appreciate any suggestion or tips.


Mapping Center Answer:

One of the options, when inserting a neatline in ArcMap is to round the corners, which is probably the simplest of all the things you might do. The general approach for a border that is a bit fancier is to integrate marker symbols at the corners with one or more lines connecting them. Typically you need to have a marker symbol that is symmetrical and it will need to be rotated specially for each corner. The marker symbol would be drawn with a graphic point that you add using the New Marker tool on the Draw toolbar.

For constructing these more advanced neatlines, check into using either the snapping grid or the layout guides to make easier work of getting the markers to exactly align to the connecting lines of the neatline/border. Another set of tools is on the graphics toolbar. Finally you may also find using the arrow keys useful to nudge the selected graphics into postion.

A note about designing your map relative to fancy borders or neatlines: Take care not to make the border/neatline the most interesting or beautiful thing on the page. Your map, not its frame, needs to be the center of attention and what people notice first and focus on.

Step-by-step instructions in NACIS PPT posted by Aileen Buckley on Feb 16 2008 11:02PM
We did a presentation at the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS) meeting this fall that included how to add a decorative border to your map. The PDF of the PowerPoint has bottom notes with step-by-step instructions. The link is Creating Landmark Maps with ArcGIS on the Other Resources page of Mapping Center. Hope this helps!

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