How to create multiple synced data frames in ArcMap

Often times you may want to create a single layout that displays multiple maps, generally of the same exact location, but showing different variables.  This example demonstrates how to create a single layout with four maps that are synced, meaning that they all have the exact same size and extent to each other.

  1. In ArcMap, create your first map, and switch over to layout mode
  2. Size the data frame to fit 1/4 of the page extent (since we are creating 4 maps)
  3. Click to highlight the data frame (notice the tiny squares in each corner of the data frame, meaning it has been selected), right click, and copy.
  4. Right click on an empty area of the page layout, and click paste.  You should now have 2 maps showing on the page, and also, 2 data frames showing in the table of contents:
  5. Repeat step 4 until you have 4 maps:
  6. Rename each data frame so that they have distinct names.  In the table of contents, right click on each data frame (probably titled “layer”), go to properties, general, and give them unique names (ex: Layer1, Layer2, Layer3, Layer4).
  7. Once each data frame has been given a unique name, you are ready to sync them.  Highlight the second map in the page layout, and go to properties.
  8. Select the data frame tab.  Make sure the parameters are set as shown below:

  9. Repeat step 8 with the other 2 maps in your page layout.
  10. Now, zoom in and out and pan the first map in your layout.  You should notice that all other maps sync to the first map automatically.

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