'Zoom to Layer' does not account for definition query


ArcMap’s 'Zoom to Layer' command is useful to focus the dataframe on the spatial extent of a particular layer; however, if you have a definition query on the layer that limits the set of features displayed in the layer, this command will zoom to the full extent of all features, not to the extent of the selected features.


The 'Zoom to Layer' command ignores a layer’s definition query for performance reasons.


There are three workarounds to this:

  • Select all features and then zoom to the selected features:
    1. Right-click on the layer, click Selection, and click Select All.
    2. Right-click on the layer, click Selection, abd click Zoom to Selected Features.
  • Export layer as new data:
    1. After setting a Definition Query for the layer, export the layer as new data.
    [O-Image] Exporting data

    2. Use the new data in the map.
  • Use spatial bookmarks to preserve the extent of the restricted features in the layer:
    1. Use 'Zoom to Layer' to zoom to the full extent of the layer.
    2. Use the 'Zoom in' tool to zoom to the extent of the restricted features.
    3. Add a spatial bookmark.

    In ArcMap's Main menu click View > Bookmarks > Create.

    4. To return to this extent, click View > Bookmarks > Your Bookmark.

    Spatial bookmarks are stored in map documents.

Article ID:000002854

  • ArcMap 8 x
  • ArcMap 9 x

Get help from ArcGIS experts

Contact technical support

Download the Esri Support App

Go to download options

Related Information

Discover more on this topic