Setting a custom full extent for your data frame

Clicking the Full Extent button Full Extent on the Tools toolbar zooms your map to show you all the data in your map. In one click, you can see everything in your map. Sometimes, though, clicking the Full Extent button zooms you out much further than desired. In these cases, you might like to set your own full extent.

For example, in a map of France, you might have layers that cover the world, and clicking Full Extent will zoom you out to the whole world.

Extent defined by default for layers that cover the whole world

You can specify a custom extent, such as France, as the full extent of your data frame. Then, when you click the Full Extent button, you are taken just to your area of interest.

You can also press the INSERT key to zoom to the full extent.
Extent defined for France

Steps for setting a custom full extent

Each data frame can have its own custom full extent, which is set in the Data Frame Properties dialog box. Here are the steps:

  1. Right-click the Data Frame name in the table of contents and click Properties.
  2. Click the Data Frame tab.
  3. In the Extent Used by Full Extent Command section, click Other and click the Specify Extent button.
    Setting a custom full extent
  4. This displays the Full Extent dialog box where you can set your custom extent. You can choose to
    • Use the current extent of your data frame.
    • Use the outline of features in a particular layer (and choose either all features or those that are visible).
    • Type in your own coordinate values to define an extent.

A custom full extent can be saved as a property of your data frame and persists in the map document.

An easy way to specify a custom extent is to zoom to the area you want to use as your new full extent, then use the Current Visible Extent option.