Print or save to file with ArcMap

Last Published: November 20, 2020


Instructions provided describe how to print or save to file with ArcMap. Use the Print to file option for printing additional copies of a map, or when there is no immediate access to a printer.

This article pertains to ArcGIS versions 8.x and 9.x. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.
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.


  1. Use the page setup dialog box to define the map page, printer and printer engine to print to.
    ArcMap 9.x and above: Page and Print Setup

[O-Image] ArcMap 9.x and above page setup

ArcMap 8.x: Page Setup

[O-Image] ArcMap page setup (ex. of bad page setup)

If there is no access to the printer to print to, create a test printer. Refer to How to: Create a test printer and set it to be the default printer for Windows for more information.

  1. Click File > Print, or click the print icon in the standard toolbar.

[O-Image] ArcMap Print icon

  1. Check Print to file on the Print dialog box and click OK.
    ArcMap 9.x and above

[O-Image] ArcMap 9.x and above print to file print dialog

ArcMap 8.x

[O-Image] Print to file with ArcMap

  1. At the prompt to save the file to disk, select the location and optionally change the file name. Click OK.
ArcMap automatically names the printer file with the map document name and appends an appropriate file extension. For example, if the MexicoPopulation.mxd sample map is printed with the Windows printer engine, the default file name is MexicoPopulation.prn. The PostScript printer engine appends .ps, while the ArcPress printer engine appends the appropriate driver extension (For example, .rtl for HP RTL).

Article ID:000003385

  • ArcMap 8 x
  • ArcMap 9 x

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