What: Sometimes you want to create a little visual hierarchy on your page layout by arranging maps and other map elements such as legends, titles and text block on top of each other. Why: This creates a more visually pleasing map since the map reader can see variation in the levels of information and there is more distinction between page elements. To learn more about visual hierarchy, see pages 12-14 in Designing Better Maps.
How: One way you can achieve this effect is to copy the data frame for the map you want to add a drop shadow to. Delete all the features in the data frame that will not be used to create the "shadow" and symbolize the remaining features with a gray fill or other symbol for a shadow. Position the "shadow" data frame under the map data frame and adjust its position so that it is slightly offset both vertically and horizontally (in our case, to the north and east).
This solution is better than creating a new data frame, positioning it under the map data frame in the table of contents, adding the feature class that has the area being mapped, changing the symbology to a gray fill, and shifting the data frame. When you copy the data frame, you don't have to worry about making the size and scale of this data frame the same as the data frame you are shadowing - it is done automatically because it is a copy. And you don't have to add the features that will be used to create the shadow -- you only have to delete the features that will not.
To make finely tuned adjustments to the location of the data frame, use the option to set the position by specifying its x,y location on the page as well as the anchor point. To do this, right click the data frame, select Properties, and click the Size and Position tab. Then set the location of the anchor point you want to use, and modify the x and y locations so they position the shadow data frame where you want.
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