Working with graphic elements, neatlines, pictures and objects

Maps can feature graphic elements, neatlines, pictures and objects in addition to geographic data, scale bars, and other typical map elements.

Graphic elements

Graphics can be used to

Graphic rectangles

You can use graphic rectangles (neatlines) to frame a group of other map elements. If you want to frame an individual map element, right-click it, click Properties, then click the Frame tab. You can use this method to choose borders and backgrounds for legends, north arrows, data frames, scale bars, and scale text.


Maps can have pictures, or graphic images, in addition to the geographic data on the map. You might add a graphic image of your company's logo to indicate the source of a map or add a nation's flag to a map to indicate its subject. You can also ornament a map by placing representative images of places, people, or objects found in an area on a map. The formats you can insert include JPEG, GIF, TIFF, EMF, BMP, PNG, and JPEG2000.


You can easily add data of almost any type to your map as an object and edit the data using the application to which it belongs. For example, suppose you have a Microsoft PowerPoint slide you want to add to a map. You could select the elements on the slide, copy them, and paste them into the map; however, using this method, you wouldn't be able to edit the pasted slide because it would no longer be in PowerPoint format. By inserting the slide as an object instead, you can add it to your map and simply double-click it to make changes to it using PowerPoint.

When you insert an object, you can either create a new, empty object or insert an existing file. The option you choose will depend on the type of object you want to insert. In the case of inserting a PowerPoint slide, you can insert an existing presentation file as an object, but only the first slide in the presentation will be visible on your map. Alternatively, you can insert a new PowerPoint slide, double-click it to edit it in PowerPoint, and paste all the elements of your existing slide into this slide.

Related Topics