Quick ways to navigate data frames and layouts

You can use keyboard shortcuts and your mouse for quicker navigation with maps and layout pages. For example, you can pan, zoom, or recenter the map without having to go to a toolbar and click a different tool for each operation.

You can also download ArcGIS Desktop: A Selection of Time-Saving Tips and Shortcuts, a printable PDF of tips and shortcuts.

Navigating with the mouse

Using the mouse wheel makes it easy to zoom and pan anytime you like without changing the tool you are currently using.

These shortcuts work in data view and layout view. In layout view, they apply to the page by default. You can hold down the SHIFT key and perform any shortcut to apply it to the data frame instead of the page (the active data frame in the case of rolling the mouse wheel, or the data frame you clicked in the case of clicking or dragging the mouse wheel).

Mouse wheel action

ArcMap navigation function

Rolling wheel back and forth

Zooms in and out

Holding down CTRL and rolling

Zooms in and out but with finer increment; used for small adjustments

Clicking mouse wheel (or middle mouse button)

Centers map at location where you clicked

Holding down mouse wheel (or middle mouse button) and dragging


Holding down CTRL and clicking mouse wheel

Centers and zooms in at location you clicked

Holding down CTRL and dragging with the mouse wheel

Zooms in

Rolling the mouse wheel is applied to whichever part of the user interface the pointer is currently over. In this way, you can just move the pointer over the map and roll the wheel to zoom in or out, regardless of which window or dialog box has keyboard focus.

You can reverse the zoom in/zoom out convention used by the mouse wheel. Click Customize > ArcMap Options to open the ArcMap Options dialog box. Click the General tab and make your changes in the Mouse Wheel and Continuous Zoom/Pan Tool section.


You can use the middle mouse button on a three-button mouse instead of the mouse wheel for all the shortcuts except for rolling to zoom in and out.

Navigation while using other tools

Hold down the following keys to temporarily turn the tool you are currently using into a navigation tool:

These shortcuts work in Data view and Layout view. In Layout view, they apply to the page by default. Hold down the SHIFT key as well as the key to apply it to the data frame you click in the page.

Recentering the map with one click

You can quickly recenter the map when you use the pan tools.

The Continuous Zoom/Pan tool

The Continuous Zoom/Pan tool Continuous pan and zoom tool can be added to any toolbar in the ArcMap user interface. Click Customize > Customize Mode to open the Customize dialog box. Click the Commands tab and select the Continuous Zoom and Pan tool from the Pan/Zoom category. This tool is especially useful if you want to use dynamic zooming and panning when you do not have a thumbwheel.

Other navigation shortcuts

Navigating with context menus

Right-clicking the map in Data view gives you a menu containing a set of commonly used commands. The menu includes some commands that operate at the location you right-clicked, enabling you to perform an operation once without changing your current tool.

Data view context menu

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