Bug: Cannot disable PDF layer support for PDFs exported from ArcMap


ArcGIS 9.2 includes support of PDF layers; the creation of PDF layers cannot be disabled.

ArcGIS Desktop 9.3 includes the ability to disable PDF layers. See the ArcGIS 9.3 Webhelp on Advanced PDF Features for more information.  


This is a known limitation in ArcGIS versions 9.1 and 9.2.


For users of ArcGIS 9.2 previous to Service Pack 5: Place all of the layers in the map into a Group Layer. All data layers listed in the Group Layer export as a single PDF layer. Annotation groups and labels still draw as separate layers.

ArcGIS 9.2 Service Pack 5 (SP5) adds the ability to prevent PDF layer creation using a registry key. Follow the steps below to add the registry key to disable layer creation.

The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. It is recommended that you backup your operating system and files, including the registry, before proceeding. Consult with a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.

Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions; therefore, use caution and proceed at your own risk.
  1. If the ArcMap Export Map dialog box is open, close it.
  2. Navigate to Start > Run, type regedit, and click OK.
  3. Expand HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\ESRI\Export\ExportObjectsParams.
  4. Navigate to Edit > New > DWORD Value.
  5. Rename the new DWORD Value: pdf_ExportPdfLayers.
  6. Double-click pdf_ExportPdfLayers to edit the value.
  7. Click the Base Hexadecimal radio button in Base and set the value data to 0 to disable PDF layer creation.
  8. Click OK; the Data value is displayed in the value field:

    To re-enable PDF layer creation, change the value to 'FFFFFFFF' (no quotes):
    [O-Image] PDF Export Layers ON
  9. Close the Registry Editor. ArcMap and other ArcGIS applications will now use the PDF layers option that was defined.

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