ArcMap legend tips: Beyond the defaults

ArcMap generates legends for you with default settings that leave much to be desired.  Looking under the hood, there are actually many ways to improve the legend through a (by now familiar) clickathon process.

Adding a multi-line description in the legend

  1. Create a map in ArcMap, and right click on an item in the table of contents that you plan to have in your legend, and go to properties
  2. Select the Symbology tab, and click on the Description button
    Layer properties
  3. Add a long description, and use ctrl-enter to generate multiple lines
  4. and add a legend like you normally would (Insert, Legend)
  5. In the legend wizard, right click on the item that you want to modify, and go to properties
    legend item properties
  6. You can select different legend styles (arrangement tab)
    legend styles
  7. And over ride default “patches” (general tab)