Returns a Python list of DataFrame objects that exist within a single map document (.mxd).


ListDataFrames always returns a Python list object even if only one data frame is returned. In order to return a DataFrame object, an index value must be used on the list (e.g., df = arcpy.mapping.ListDataFrames(mxd)[0]). For loops on a list provide an easy mechanism to iterate through each item in a list (e.g., for df in arcpy.mapping.ListDataFrames(mxd):).

Wildcards are not case sensitive. A wildcard string of "la*" will return a data frame with a name Layers.

It is possible that there might be data frames in a map document that have the same name. If that is the case, then other properties may need to be used to isolate a specific data frame. Properties such as a data frame's credits or description could be used to do this. It is ideal that all data frames be uniquely named.


ListDataFrames (map_document, {wildcard})
ParameterExplanationData Type

A variable that references a MapDocumentobject.


A combination of asterisks (*) and characters can be used to help limit the results.

(The default value is None)

Return Value
Data TypeExplanation

A Python list of DataFrame objects.

Code Sample

DataFrame example:

This script will search for a data frame with the name Transportation and set the scale and rotation to the appropriate values.

import arcpy
mxd = arcpy.mapping.MapDocument(r"C:\Project\Project.mxd")
for df in arcpy.mapping.ListDataFrames(mxd, "t*"):
    if == "transportation":
        df.scale = 24000
        df.rotation = 5.5
del mxd