Problem: Maps print or export blocky, chunky, low quality, or raster banded from ArcMap
Maps printed or exported from ArcMap are bitmapped, scattered, banded, or display with low quality.
This happens for several reasons, independently or combined:
The maps are printed or exported with either a low output resolution or a low Output Image Quality (OIQ) setting
The map uses a picture/bitmap fill, picture marker, and/or transparent symbology
When exported or printed, ArcMap flattens and rasterizes the layer that is symbolized with either a picture fill, picture marker or transparency, and any layers beneath it in the Table Of Contents (TOC).
Other data frames in the map that do not contain picture fills, picture markers, or transparency are not effected.
Solution or Workaround
It is highly recommended to use ArcGIS Pro for printing and exporting, especially when experiencing issues caused by the limitations of the ArcMap display engine. More specifically, ArcGIS Pro is not restricted by the graphical device interface (GDI) limitations that some users experience in ArcMap. For example, transparency is natively supported in ArcGIS Pro, preventing the rasterization of layers. Additionally, ArcGIS Pro supports transparency in layout elements.
ArcGIS Pro does not support exporting Adobe Illustrator files; it is recommended to export using PDF or SVG instead. Also, because ArcGIS Pro does not use the Windows GDI, font substitution or fallback does not occur in ArcGIS Pro. Boxes may appear if using characters unsupported by the chosen font.
If using ArcGIS Pro is not an option, use any of the following options below.