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FAQ: What is the drawing order of elements in a map?

Question

What is the drawing order of elements in a map?

Answer

The following list describes the order in which map elements are drawn.

Elements in Data View:

• Topmost: Graphics selection
• Clip border*
• Feature selection
• Map annotation
• Graphic objects**
• Layer labels
• Layers (raster or vector)
• Bottommost: Map background***

* Optional border symbol that can be used when clipping a data frame; see Data Frame Properties > Data Frame > Clip Options > Clip to shape > Border
** Drawn with Drawing tools or inserted from external sources.
*** Set in Data Frame Properties > Frame > Background

Elements in Layout View:

• Topmost: Snap guides
• Graphics selection
• Elements in the layout‡
• Snap grid
• Print margins
• Bottommost: Paper outline
‡ Data frame(s), map surround elements (legend, north arrow, etc.), and other graphics added to layout.

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