Fall 2003
   GEO327G/386G: GIS & GPS Applications in Earth Sciences

Software Tips - 3








  Messages>Labs>Tips>Tip 3    


How to paste an ArcMap map or graph into Word, Excel or Powerpoint.


Pasting a picture of something captured off the screen into Word or other programs by the techniques given in Tip 2 yields an image in raster form.  Inherent limitations of raster images (i.e. pixelation) can be overcome by capturing and pasting vector-based objects (e.g. maps of shapefiles and coverages, and graphs of attributes) in vector format by doing the following:

  • With the map or graph visible in the Layout View of ArcMap, right click and select "Copy".
  • To paste into Word, open a Word document and place the cursor where the object will be inserted. From the Word Edit menu select "Paste Special", highlight "Picture (Enhanced Metafile)" (as shown below). click OK.

Paste Special screen capture from MS Word


  • To paste into Excel or PowerPoint, there is no Paste Special option; simple "Paste" from the Edit menu or use Ctrl V.
  • Note that the entire selected area in the Layout View, including white space, is copied and pasted.  Also, if more than one object is present, e.g. a map and scale bar, then both must be selected before copying if both are to be pasted in at the same time.

Note that vector-based graphics are best "Exported" from Layouts as .emf format if they are for use in Microsoft software.  Exporting a Layout to PDF format works exceptionally well for stand-alone maps.  This provides perhaps the best permanent way to preserve ArcMap Layouts.


Last updated October 15, 2019
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Geological Science,  U. Texas at Austin