The PrintingTools service produces garbled or pixellated legend patches in PDF output

Last Published: February 13, 2024


Map service layer legend patches may appear garbled, pixellated, or may disappear when the PrintingTools service outputs to PDF, EPS or SVG format. This problem frequently occurs when the requested layout is larger than Letter or A4 size. The problem also occurs with the legend patches of feature service layers and client side graphic layers when a picture marker or fill symbol is used. Inserted images or objects such as logo graphics may be dropped from the page.

An example of a service layer legend patch appearing distorted when exported to PDF format is shown below:

[O-Image] PixelatedWebMapLegend1


If a legend patch with a picture fill or marker symbol type falls outside the default page size of the Windows default printer, Windows GDI drawing calls used by Print Service may not properly draw the object or image on output. The default printer page size on a typical machine is Letter or A4 size. The rendering failure on large layout page sizes typically occurs in the page area that is below or to the right of the smaller printer paper size. Thus, it is more common to see this problem when the legend is placed on the bottom or right areas of the page.

Map services render even simple symbols, such as a circle, and their legend patches as images. These render without problems inside the data frame, as they are blended with service layer content drawing as raster. But they have rendering problems when drawn as discrete images on the layout page.


Set ArcGIS Server Account's Windows default printer's default page size to a size as large as or larger than the page layout that is being exported. For example, if the map document is a tabloid size (11 x 17), set the default printer's default page size to 11 x 17 or larger. If setting the printer to the exact size of the layout page, check that the orientation (portrait or landscape) also matches the layout to be exported. The easiest solution is typically to install a plotter driver, as these have the largest page sizes available by default. Microsoft Windows ships with many plotter drivers available through the Add Printer wizard. No download is necessary.

  1. Log on to the server machine as an administrator.
  2. Open the Windows Services console from Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services.
  3. Stop ArcGIS Server service.
  4. Log out and log back in to the server using the ArcGIS Server Account.
This is the account that was chosen during ArcGIS Server setup. Windows Task Manager can also be used on the server machine to find out which user is being used to run ArcSOC.exe process.
  1. Open the Windows Devices and Printers dialog box by navigating to Start > Control Panel > Devices and Printers.
  2. Right-click the default printer; it contains a check mark icon.
  3. Select Printing preferences.
  4. On the Paper/Quality tab, under Paper Options, select a paper size larger than the page size of the desired layout. Click OK. The name and appearance of the Printer Properties dialog box may vary according to printer/driver.
  5. Log out and log back in as an administrator.
  6. Start the ArcGIS Server service from the Windows Services console opened in Step 2.

Article ID:000011636

  • ArcGIS Server

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