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Preparing map output for publication

August 27 2009 | 2 comments
Categories: Publishing

I need to make some digital graphics for publication. The publisher expects me to to produce my graphics using Adobe Illustrator, but I don't have that, only ArcGIS. The format requirements are 6" wide at 300 dpi. How do I output my maps to meet these specs?

Mapping Center Answer:

  1. The first thing I would do in ArcMap is get my page setup taken care of; from ArcMap's file Menu choose Page and Print Setup. 
  2. In this case your plan will be to export the map to a graphics file, the way to think productively about this is that the ArcMap Page will be the extent of your graphic. Thus, uncheck the Use Printer Paper Settings.  Then change the option in the Standard Sizes dropdown to Custom.
  3. While you said the publisher has a requirement of 6" wide, you really need to set the width and height to exactly the size you will want the graphic to be. If you're doing a full page graphic, then it will be 6" x the specified height.  The publisher can place that art (your graphic) anywhere on the page, and no matter what you send, they will probably fine tune it anyway.
  4. Once your page size is set up to represent the size of the graphic you will produce, go ahead and make the map. 
  5. Once your map is done, choose Export from the File menu. Set the "Save as type" to AI (*.ai) and then on the Options, set the Resolution to 300 DPI.  Export the file and give to your publisher.

There are still a lot of niggling details that this process conveniently doesn't get into.  For instance, we have found that many publishers who will be placing the art prefer PDF format instead of the flavor of AI that ArcMap produces.  So, I would suggest just including a PDF file when you give the publisher the content. 

If the publisher has some experience with ArcGIS output, they may be able to make your life easier by specifying particular options to use.  The real point in mentioning that is that there are publishers who have experience with ArcGIS output and if you have a choice in publisher, choosing one with that experience will make your life much easier.

Export cut into stripes posted by Janine Peterhans on Nov 26 2009 11:46PM
When exporting my map from ArcGIS to AI it gets sliced into horizontal stripes. Vector-layers even get rasterized and then sliced.
What can I do to get proper vector-layers in AI?
Thanks for your help!
Large output & Rasterization posted by Charlie Frye on Nov 30 2009 3:50PM
ArcMap uses the Windows Graphic Device Interface (GDI) to draw--there is a hard 2Gb limit to the size of output. To get around that ArcMap breaks content into strips and appends the strips into the output file.

Rasterization occurs for several reasons; the following help topic covers those reasons in the section about rasterization:

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