New Century and Integrity Plus Blog

ArcMap Tips & Tricks: Part I

Posted by Andy Sauer on Jun 14, 2017 2:00:00 PM

Whether you’re a daily Esri ArcMap consumer, or just an intermittent user, there’s always some new trick to discover. Here at New Century, we learn new functionality all the time! I've put together a list of my top five favorite tips. Check out the first two tips here!

You don’t work for the mouse wheel, the mouse wheel works for you

When I’m visiting clients during a training, I often hear strong opinions concerning the direction of the mouse wheel zoom. Some think that rolling the mouse wheel forward (away from you) should Zoom In, while others are firmly in the opposite camp.  I’m not here to decide who is correct, but I’d like to point out that you can set your preference in the ArcMap Options.

  1. Click Customize > ArcMap Options 

 tip1-pic1.png

  1. On the General tab, decide whether rolling the mouse wheel forward Zooms In or Zooms Out.

 tip1-pic2.png

The good news is this choice will persist from session to session; you do not have to set your preference every time you open ArcMap. And because the preference is saved in the ArcMap Template that resides in your user profile folder, each user can determine his or her own preference (assuming your company has not restricted the ability to save preferences).

Don’t let a large feature class bog you down, you decide when it should turn on and draw

When adding a new feature class to your active map, by default it will enter your Table of Contents “on” and will want to draw immediately. Sometimes that is helpful, but more often it is a frustrating expense of processing time. The feature class comes in with a default symbol that you probably don’t like, it comes in unlabeled, and it comes in wanting to draw itself at all scales and within the entire visible extent of your map. Because you will most likely want to refine these Properties before it draws, I recommend changing the default draw behavior.

  1. Click Customize > ArcMap Options

 tip2-pic1.png

  1. On the General tab, uncheck the box to Make newly added layers visible by default.

 tip2-pic2.png

This way, the feature classes is added to the Table of Contents as “off” and will not immediately draw.  Giving you the chance to set the correct symbology, visibility scales, labels, and other Properties before it spends time drawing.  This is particularly helpful if you are adding a group of layers at the same time.


Hopefully the tips we shared today help speed up your workflow! Be sure to check back in two weeks for the second part of our ArcMap tips and tricks series.

Topics: Esri, ArcMap

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