Ask A Cartographer

"Freezing" graphics

June 25 2009 | 2 comments
Categories: Map Elements, Publishing

I was making a series of maps today and after exporting 52 of them I found that around number 25 I had moved a graphic a bit to the left on accident. Is there a way to make a graphic stay where I put it so I don't have to re-do work again?

Mapping Center Answer:

There is no actual way to "lock down" the graphics at this point.  You might be able to use some ArcObjects code if you are that savvy.  If not, if you use a focused data frame to place graphics on a page, then the graphics will stay in the same relative position in the frame.  Any graphics you draw in the frame when it is focused will be drawn inside the data frame in geographic space and will be available in data view and layout view. This is one way to assure that things do not move inadvertently.  This might be a good solution

  1. if your graphics appear within the extent of your data frame, or
  2. you can add a new data frame to contains just the graphics. (You'd have to be sure not to accidentally move the frame then, instead of the graphics.)  However, if you add a picture to the focused data frame, however, this will rasterized the entire data frame making the background appear white.

We wrote a blog entry on the state of data frames -- here is the link to that:

Easy to lock element with code : should be part of posted by Mark Chilcott on Jul 30 2009 6:13PM
Hi Mapping Centre,

This is an issue we have come across, and I would think most people doing a lot of maps, especially that are based on a template.

It is about 10 lines of code to set the lock property of an element, about 10 lines of code to unlock it, and about 10 lines of code to check and report if it is locked or unlocked.

If you check the properties of an element, it is about the only property not in the dialog box! For very little effort, I would think this would be a great enhancement to ArcMap.


Thanks! posted by Aileen Buckley on Jul 31 2009 7:15AM
Thanks, Mark! I will pass this along! Aileen

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