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How to create a data frame shape in a layout?

October 02 2008 | 2 comments
Categories: Cartographic Effects, Map Elements, Publishing

I want to create a shaped layout similar to the Alaska and Hawaii data frames in the attached bmp file stolen from the 2007 User Conference Proceedings CD (Slide 24 of Map Compilation and Page Layout Tips and Tricks). My map layout is shown in the example.jpg attached. I can clip each of the data frames in data view, but then the white space overlaps each other in the layout view.

Mapping Center Answer:

There are two things (at least) that will cause your topmost data frame to white out the portion of the data frame beneath it.  First is if any layer in that topmost data frame uses transparency; one of the side-effects of transparency is that the data frame's background is forced to white.  Second is that in the frame tab of the Data Frame Properties dialog, the background is to something other than "<None>".

No work around for white background problem? posted by Lindsay Banks on Mar 4 2010 9:11AM
I use transparency in my maps all the time. Is there really no work around for this? Hard to believe, and unfortunate. Clipping the data frame is also not very intuitive (having to go through map view when it is clearly a layout issue).
Clip the data frame posted by Aileen Buckley on Mar 4 2010 10:57AM
I think your best solution is to clip the data frames. While you say it is not intuitive, I think it might become clearer as you work thought the process a couple of times. It is really not all that difficult once you get the hang of it. Here is the online help for this solution: http://webhelp.esri.com/arcgisdesktop/9.2/index.cfm?id=419&pid=415&topicname=Clipping_data_frames_to_a_custom_shape. In your case, you will the New Polygon tool on the Drawing toolbar instead of the New Circle tool. This will allow you to create the areas for your maps of Point Judith Pond and Ninigret Pond.

Let us know if you have any problems with this!

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