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Buffer size in legend

November 13 2008 | 1 comment
Categories: Data Modeling, Symbology

I created a buffer layer to show the actual size of points (i.e. .001, .01, .1 acre, etc) but I want to show a representation of the buffer size in the legend so when you look at the map and see a big circle you know it's 1 acre and a smaller one is .5 acres and so on. Is there a way to do this?

Mapping Center Answer:

You can select one buffer of each size and convert them to graphics, then use them in your legend.  Here is the link to the online help for this subject:

A couple of things to note if you do this:

  1. It would be a good idea to set the extent of your data frame to a fixed scale (right click the layer in the table of contents, click Properties, click the Data Frame tab, and select the Fixed scale.) This way the size of the graphics will stay the exact same size as the geographic features, whcih is critical for a legend.
  2. When you convert features to graphics, they are placed in a focused data frame which allows you to work with the features and elements in that data frame as though you were in data view (so they are placed relative to your other features geographically). You may want to move them to an unfocused data frame so that they are stored in the units of the page and won't appear if you switch to data view. To do this, select the graphics in data view, right click and select Cut. Switch to the page layout view, double click the data frame (a hatched line pattern should appear around the edge now), right click and select Paste.  Note that if you did Step 1, then the graphics should be drawn in the page layout at the right size. 

Here is an example that I worked on:


Buffer legend

Copying graphic from data frame to layout posted by David Barnes on Nov 17 2008 8:42AM
Here is an alrternate workflow:

1. Working in Layout view the whole time, focus the data frame (double-click or use the button on the Layout toolbar). The border should show as a diaginally hatched line.
2. Select the graphic and copy it.
3. Unfocus the data frame (click off the page or click the button on the Layout toolbar – you should see the diagonally hatched "focus" outline go away).
4. Paste the graphic onto the layout.

Using this approacah, the copy should be the same size as the original without having to set a reference scale (Step 1 in the originally described workflow).

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