Moving, rotating, and ordering graphics

Much of the work you do while building your map involves arranging graphics and other elements. For instance, you might want to orient graphics or position map elements, such as titles, neatlines, and north arrows, on the layout.

ArcMap provides a number of tools that let you position and orient graphics. You can move graphics by dragging them with the mouse pointer or, when you need more precise control, you can nudge them up, down, left, or right. You can also position graphics at a specified coordinate location. You can order graphics by moving one graphic on top of another one, rotating it, and flipping it horizontally or vertically.

  1. Click the Select Elements tool Select Elements on the Draw toolbar and click the graphic you want to change.
  2. Choose how you want to modify the graphic.


    Drag the selected graphic to its new position.

    Use keyboard shortcuts to move the graphic.

    • SHIFT+arrow keys—Move graphic one pixel in the arrow key direction.
    • SHIFT+CTRL+arrow keys—Move graphic 4 pixels in the arrow key direction.
    • Arrow keys—Move graphic 10 pixels in the arrow key direction.
    • CTRL+arrow keys—Move graphic 40 pixels in the arrow key direction.


    Click Drawing on the Draw toolbar, point to Nudge, then click the direction you want to nudge the graphic.

    The graphic moves approximately 10 pixels in the nudge direction.

    Position in a specific location

    Double-click the graphic you want to position, click the Size and Position tab on the Properties dialog box, then type an x and y position.

    In layout view, specify x,y coordinates relative to the lower left corner of the layout. In data view, specify x,y coordinates in the units in which your data is stored.


    Click Drawing on the Draw toolbar, point to Order, then click the ordering option.


    Click the Rotate tool Rotate on the Draw toolbar, position the mouse pointer over the x that indicates the rotation point, then move it as necessary. Click and drag the mouse pointer to rotate the graphic.

    To rotate a graphic by 90 degrees left or right, click Drawing on the Draw toolbar, point to Rotate or Flip, then click Rotate Left or Rotate Right.

    Flip horizontally or vertically

    Click Drawing on the Draw toolbar, point to Rotate or Flip, then click Flip Horizontally or Flip Vertically.

    Make the same size

    Click Drawing on the Draw toolbar, point to Distribute, then click Make Same Size

    When more than one graphic is selected, one graphic has blue handles, and the others have green handles. The blue handles indicate the dominant graphic—the one that will not change when the Make Same Size command is applied. The other selected graphics will adjust to the size of the dominant graphic.
The Graphics toolbar provides quick access to frequently used tools for manipulating graphic elements. To display it, click Customize > Toolbars > Graphics.
You can right-click a graphic or a group of selected graphics to open the graphics context menu that includes shortcuts to many graphics operations.

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