ArcMap clips map when printed

Last Published: April 25, 2020


ArcMap clips the map during printing. The map looks fine in the layout, but it is clipped when printed.


The map does not fit on the printer page, or the map page does not correspond with the selected printer page.

ArcMap by default creates a map with a page size of 8.5" x 11" or A4 portrait. The map prints on the computer's default printer using the default page size and orientation for that printer. Since the default page size and orientation on most printers is 8.5" x 11", or A4 portrait, the map most likely prints clipped. Click File > Print Preview to preview the map on paper.
[O-Image] ArcMap print preview (ex. of bad page setup)
When printing a map that does not use the 'Same as Printer' page option (known as 'Use Printer Paper Settings' in ArcMap 9.x), ArcMap prints the entire map page displayed in layout, including any white space in the map as a map surround.

This is an example of an letter-sized, landscape map as seen in ArcMap Layout. Note the white space around the map elements.

[O-Image] ArcMap layout not using Same as Printer/Use Printer Paper Settings
ArcMap draws in the corner of the entire map page within the required margins of the printer page, which may shift the map partially off the printer page, and thus clip it. This example shows how even if a matching printer page size is selected and orientation, map still clips.
This is how the above map looks in ArcMap Print Preview, printing to an HP DesignJet 1055CM on a letter-sized, landscape page when the Same as Printer option (known as Use Printer Paper Settings in 9.x) is not used.

ArcMap places the entire above map in the bottom left-hand corner of the maximum printable area of the selected printer and printer page size, thus pushing the map out of the maximum printable area and clipping the map when printed.

[O-Image] ArcMap print preview without Same as Printer/Use Printer Paper Settings

Solution or Workaround

  • Specify an appropriate, larger printer page size and orientation.
    - ArcMap 9.x and above
    [O-Image] ArcMap 9.x and above Page and Print Setup large page size

    - ArcMap 8.x
    A. Click File > Page Setup.

    B. Click the Printer Name drop-down list and select the appropriate printer.

    C. Click the Printer Paper Size drop-down list and select a page size that is slightly larger than the map page size. For example, if the map is 11" x 8.5", then select 'ARCH A' (9" x 12"). Be sure to match the page orientation, if needed.

    D. Click OK.

    ArcPress has larger printer margins than either Windows or PostScript, so it may cause clipping even with a larger printer page size. Be sure to check Print Preview to verify that the map will not clip when printed.

    [O-Image] [O] ArcMap 8.x page setup (ex. of good non-SAP)
  • Use the 'Same as Printer' option (known as 'Use Printer Paper Settings' in 9.x). Directly select the page size and orientation from the printer. Note the standard page size drop-down list and orientation radio buttons are disabled.
    - ArcMap 9.x and above Page and Print Setup
    Note the Layout preview in the lower right-hand area of the dialog box. As the options are changed, the preview shows how the map will print or look in ArcMap Layout.

    [O-Image] ArcMap 9.x and above Page and Print Setup Use Printer Paper Settings

    - ArcMap 8.x Page Setup
    [O-Image] ArcMap page setup (ex. of good, SAP page setup)
    At ArcMap 8.x, do not use the 'Same as Printer' option under these circumstances:

    · The map document is intended to be shared with others who do not have access to the printer.
    · The printer on which the map is intended to print is not installed on the computer.
    · The map requires a specific industry page size.

    In any of these cases, set up the page so the custom page size corresponds or fits within a page size from the printer.

    This does not apply to 9.0 and newer versions of ArcMap.

  • The only margins that exist in ArcMap are those of the printer, which are seen on the map layout when using the 'Use Printer Paper Settings' or 'Same as Printer' option. Use guides in layout view to help designate margins around the map.
  • If the map document is already saved, match the map and printer page sizes and orientation. Select the 'Use Printer Paper Settings' or 'Same as Printer' option and make sure the scale map elements option is turned off. This maintains the map scale and ratio and saves paper.

    Be sure to use Print Preview as printers have different margins, and the map may extend into these margins.

Article ID:000002758

  • ArcMap

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