Creating custom overlay grids

In some cases, the grids provided by Grids and Graticules Wizard or those created using the Make Grids and Graticules Layer geoprocessing tool do not meet your needs. You may want to use a custom overlay grid. You can create custom overlay reference grids that use the geometry of a line or polygon data source to define the grid lines and an attribute column in this same feature class to specify the labels. Using ArcMap, you need to create a new reference system to contain the custom overlay grid you want to use.

The following are steps to create a custom overlay grid.

If ArcMap is configured to show Grids and Graticules Wizard, this must be disabled before creating a custom overlay grid. If Wizard Mode is not disabled, you will not be able to select the grids you want in Reference System Selector. See Disabling wizards in ArcMap.

You also need to make sure that ArcMap is properly set up to use custom overlay grids. For these steps, see Setting up ArcMap to use custom overlay reference grids.

  1. Click Customize > Style Manager.
  2. Click your personal style on the left side of the dialog box and navigate to the Reference Systems folder.
  3. Often you will decide to create the new custom overlay grids in your personal style, although you can create these in any writable style you choose.

  4. On the right side of the dialog box, right-click, point to New, then click Custom Overlay.
  5. Specify the System variable by navigating to the folder containing the reference systems you want to use to render the custom overlay grids—this is the same folder you specified as the reference system path on the ArcMap Advanced Settings dialog box.
  6. Specify a value in Label field that will be used to label the axes of the custom overlay grid.
  7. Specify any modifications to the labels and axes that you require. Note that changes made at the style level will affect the grid every time it is used on a map. To make modifications on a single map only, specify changes to the grid once it has been added to the layout.
  8. A custom overlay grid is added to the Reference Systems folder in your personal style.

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