Large Menu & Toolbar Buttons

For those of you who have a hard time seeing the small tool buttons (commands) on your toolbars, it is possible to make them larger.

o   Choose Customize ►Customize Mode…from the main menu bar.

o   Choose the Options tab and check the box next to Large icons.

Regular Menu & Toolbar Buttons:

Large Menu & Toolbar Buttons:

Customize ArcMap 10 Toolbars

Creating custom toolbars is one of the easiest ways to tailor ArcGIS desktop applications to the way you work. In addition to positioning toolbars in a specific area of the application, you can group commands on a custom toolbar.  Save mouse clicks by creating a new toolbar that contains frequently used menu choices, new macros, or custom commands from another source.

o  Choose Customize ►Customize Mode… from the main menu bar.

o   To turn toolbars on/off simply check/uncheck the box next to the toolbar in the Toolbars tab.

o   Shortcut:  right-click on the standard toolbar (just below the main menu bar) and the select the toolbar(s) you would like to be visible. 

o   Toolbars can be docked anywhere or float in the application.

o   While the Customize dialog box is open, the tool buttons on visible toolbars can be rearranged and new tool buttons (aka commands) can be added from the Commands tab, just drag and drop the tool button to the visible target toolbar.

Adding and Moving ArcGis Toolbars

The ArcGIS Toolbar

Can't find the tool you want in Arcmap, perhaps you need another toolbar! 

Right click on any blank spot within the gray toolbar area at the top of the ArcMap.  The available toolbars will appear as a long list as seen in the graphic below.  Simply check or uncheck each toolbar to add (or remove)  them from the ArcMap project.

Rearranging a toolbar is easy.  Simply hover the cursor over the left edge of a toolbar, click and hold, then drag the toolbar to a new location. 


What's new with the ArcGIS 10 Table of Contents

The ArcGIS 10 table of contents (TOC) has several new ways to display data.

ArcGIS 9.x had three tabs at the bottum of the TOC.  In version 10 the tabs turned into 5 buttons at the top of the TOC.

List by drawing order: (previously the 'display' tab in ArcGIS 9.x)
This button allows you to see a list of themes, reorder, and check them on or off for display.

List by data source: (previously the 'source' tab in ArcGIS 9.x)
This button shows you the source directory for each theme within the TOC.

List by visibility: New to ArcGIS 10.
This button allows you to see which themes are currently displayed and those that are not.  Notice that the TOC can expand or contract the 'not visible' section, further cleaning up what you see in the TOC.

List by selection: (previously the 'selection' tab in ArcGIS 9.x)
This button allows the user to set themes available for selection.  Themes that can be selected, will show how many features are currently selected.  Notice the 800 features selected in the graphic below.

Options: New in ArcGIS 10
This is a new button in ArcGis 10.  This allows the user to modify how the themes appear in the TOC. The size of patches and lines can be resized  or reshaped for better cartography display in the TOC.  Please note that the changes within the options menu will NOT change how the legend will display in a map.

Grouping themes for display

Grouping themes

Do you have a messy ArcMap project full of so many themes you can‘t keep them all straight?  You should group some datasets!   Grouping data will unclutter the table of contents  allowing you to display groups of data rather than one layer at a time. 

  1. Select the themes you wish to group by holding down Shift + click on each theme.  Then, right click and choose ‘Group’.  The selected themes will appear nested under the name ‘New Group Layer’.  

2) Change ‘New Group Layer’ to something more meaningful by right clicking on the heading, then properties.  Rename and click OK.

  1.  The newly group themes can now be easily checked to display (or not), and minimized to clean up the table of contents.


Creating ArcMap Map Images

Here are a few tips when creating map images from an ArcMap project. 

First, please include in any map proper cartographic elements:  North arrow, scale bar, scale text, legend, title, study area location, and map source informatoin are all helpful to the final user.

ArcMap supports many image types, I won't get into most of them.  I will tell you what has worked the best for me.  Most people want a map image to include within a word document or for inclusion within a PDF file.

Export a map image from ArcMap.

1) Toggle to the layout view if you haven't done so already.

2) On the menubar, click File-Export map. The Export Map dialog will appear. 

Several files types are available.  Many are better in resolution than others.  My favorites are PDF, JPEG, and PDF.


Here are some quick guidelines when saving files.  Test this for yourself to ensure the best resolution for your mapping purpose.

JPEG, set resolution to at least 400 dpi.  These file types can be inserted into MSWord, MSPowerpoint, and other applications.

PNG, set resolution to at least 200 dpi.  These file types can be inserted into MSWord, MSPowerpoint, and other applications.  I often like them better than JPEG since they usually end up smaller in size and have a better resolution.   These images are also great for websites.

PDF, set resolution to around 150 dpi.  These can't be inserted into MS applications, but are great for including within already created PDF documents.  Please note the following when creating a PDF file.  Make sure to check the options 'convert marker symbols to polygons' and 'embed all document fonts' within the Format tab.   If these are not checked, and you send a PDF to a person who doesn't have an ESRI product they will see numbers instead of dots, and odd looking fonts.  They will think you created a crazy, unreadable map!




ArcMap Bookmarks


Do you repeatedly return to a map extent in an ArcMap project and find it difficult to locate the exact same spot? Do you create a map and struggle to get the same map extent set up at a later date?  Do you have multiple maps to create, but want to use only one ArcMap project? It sounds like bookmarks are for you! 

Bookmarks are created and managed from the menubar under 'Bookmarks'.  Create a new bookmark by first zooming into the preferred map extent.  Then from the menubar, click on BookMarks-Create and name the new bookmark.  Returning to that same map extent later is simple.  Go back to the menubar, 'Bookmarks' and click on the bookmark name.  The graphic below shows the Bookmarks menubar options and two bookmarks, 'Map 1' and 'Map2'.

 Managing Bookmarks is simple too.  From the menubar, click on 'Bookmarks-Manage'.  The Bookmarks Manager will appear.  Within the manager you can create, delete, and order your bookmarks (and more).  You can make bookmarks available for use in other ArcMap projects by saving them out to a bookmark file (click save and specify a file name and location).  Later you can load saved bookmark files by clicking 'load'.  

Create maps using bookmarks

If you would like to use one ArcMap project to create multiple maps, bookmarks are a great way to save the various map extents.

1) First create bookmarks for each map

2) Make sure you have toggled to the layout view (the map).

3) Export the map to an image file.  On the Menubar, click File-Export Map.  Browse to, name, and choose an appropriate file format. 

4) Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 for each bookmark.


Statistics on the fly

 Want a quick summary of area from your dataset within ArcMap?  Use the Statistics option while the attribute table is open.

1) Open your Attribute table if it isn't already open.  Right-click on the theme's name and choose 'open attribute table'.  The attribute table will open. 

2) Right-click on the field in which to calculate statistics. Click on Statistics.

3) A Statistics window will appear outlining a summary of that field.   This is useful when in need of a quick count, a sum, etc.

Things to keep in mind:
    - If there are selected records, the statistics will be based on the selection.
   - You must perform this on a numeric field.

Improved PDF Maps on the HuntPlanner

We're happy to announce that we've added new improved PDF Maps to the Huntplanner!  The maps have been redesigned to be easier to read and use in the field. 


  • Hunt and National Forest boundaries clearly marked
  • Prominent physical features and towns noted
  • Improved streams symbols and shaded relief to assist with navigation.
  • Public and private land management are clearly defined
  • Customized rendering for improved readability and various scales
  • Designed for regular and colorblind hunters

You can view and download the new maps on details page for each hunt or directly from the map index.

Here's a preview of the new design.  Thanks for all the hard work Angie!

Changing the Owner of Tables in SQL Server

You may configure SQL Server such that users who are not dbo may create tables, but you set yourself up for a world of pain.

Soon, you can no longer do simple table selects (because dbo is inferred) and instead must resort to prefacing every join with [user].[tablename].[fieldname].

The solution is a SQL Server system stored procedure sp_changeobjectowner:

EXEC sp_changeobjectowner 'user.table', 'dbo'

Note that this operation will clear all privileges.

Credit goes to my old co-worker Bruce, who shared this solution many six years ago in an email titled, "Lucky You". I had several hundred tables and views to re-title and privilege at the time.