GIS Cookbook: Cartographic Design - Adding and Editing a Legend to a Layout 
Keywords: Presentation, finishing, printing, cartographic elements, layouts, legends, symbols, defining
Category: Cartographic Design
Software: ArcView 3.2

Problem: How do I add a legend to my map?

Description: Your map is in the Layout format and you would like to add a legend.
Note: For help on getting your map into the Layout format, refer to recipe Shortcut to moving your map into the presentation stage (using a template)

1) Click and hold the last button on the layout tool bar.

Legend Tool

2) Select the Legend icon

3) While holding down the mouse button, drag the cursor over to where you would like to place the legend.

Selecting a location for your legend

Release the button when the square shows the appropriate size for your map. The square indicates the size of the legend you are creating.

4) The Legend Frame Properties window will appear.

Legend Frame Properties window

Select the view within which you would like to display your legend.

5) Your legend should appear in the selected location on your map. The name of each layer of data used in creating your map will automatically be used within the legend labels.

6) To change the graphics and text of your legend click on the legend so that dark squares appear on all four corners.

Legend selected

7) Go to the menu item Graphics-->Simplify .


This will change the legend object from one object to a number of individual objects (i.e., ungrouping). You can then move, delete, add, or change the individual legend elements to match your presenation style. You may also change the text font and symbols used within the legend.

Ungrouped objects after simplify tool

You may also decide to add or delete certain elements from your legend that may not be necessary to include in your presenation. Click on each unwanted element then press Delete.

Editing your legend

8) To alter the font and size of your legend text, or the specifics of your symbol simply press Control P while the object you wish to alter is selected and then choose your palette properties. You can also edit the content of your text by double cliking on the text object you would like to change.

Changing the text in your legend

Note: To learn more about editing text refer to the recipe Adding text to a layout

9) Once you have configured the individual legend elements to your own standards you must re-group the elements. Select all the elements you would like in the legend. Then select the menu item Graphics-->Group.

Grouping the objects in your legend to one object

All of the selected elements will re-group into one object. You can go back and forth by ungrouping and grouping objects, editing and reediting them until you are satisfied with your presentation.
Note: Once you have simplified and grouped for the first time, use Graphics-> Ungroup and Graphics-> Group to edit your legend. The Simplify command is only used the first time.
Authored by: Benjamin N. Sprague Modified: 8/27/03

Copyright © 2002-2015 by Regents of University of California, Santa Barbara
Cookbook: Ben Sprague, Ethan Sundilson, Carlin Wong, Sam Ying