Create Extent Rectangles in ArcMap


The content in this article pertains to ArcGIS versions 9.x only. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools. In later versions of ArcMap, and in ArcGIS Pro, Extent Rectangles are called Extent Indicators. Please see the Related Information section below.

Instructions provided describe how to create Extent Rectangles in ArcMap. In ArcMap, it is possible to create extent rectangles to show the extent of the view. At least two data frames must be present in ArcMap before proceeding.


Follow the steps below to create extent rectangles in ArcMap:

  1. Activate the data frame the extent rectangle should appear in. Right-click on the data frame to activate from the table of contents > Activate.
  2. Navigate to View > Data Frame Properties.
  3. Click the Extent Rectangles tab.
  4. Select, under the Other Data Frames list, the data frame that the extent rectangle should be based on. To create extent rectangles for all other data frames, click the '>>' button and skip Step 5.
  5. Click the '>' button after selecting data frame.
  6. If more than one extent rectangle is present, click the Frame button to modify border, background, or drop shadow of the extent rectangle to differentiate between different extent rectangles. Changing the order in which the rectangles appears when overlapping is also possible.

    Optionally, the Show Leader box may be selected to create a leader line connecting the extent rectangle to its corresponding data frame in Layout View. Click the Leader Symbol button to modify the leader symbol.
  7. Click Apply and OK.

Article ID:000008000

  • ArcMap 9 x

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