Exporting a map
Last modified August 15, 2007
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Once you've created a map, you may want to export it from a map document to another file type. The supported export formats, as well as information about several aspects of exporting a map, are discussed below:
Raster files are made up of pixels and have an associated resolution that is usually expressed as the number of pixels per inch (dpi). Raster files are best at containing images that are made up of many different colors such as photographs or satellite images. They do not scale well and can appear blocky or jaggy if increased in size.
Raster file exporters included with ArcMap are BMP, TIFF, JPEG, GIF, and PNG.
Vector files are made up of mathematical descriptions of objects such as points, polygons, lines, and text. Vector files scale well since they do not have an associated resolution and they will look the same at whatever size they are displayed. Vector files can also contain raster images, although the raster portions may not scale as well as the vector portions.
Vector file exporters included with ArcMap are EMF, EPS, PDF, AI, and SVG.
Vector files are generally smaller in size than a corresponding raster file.
An RGB color can be defined by a combination of red, green, and blue primary colors, each of which is described using an 8-bit integer number, which translates into a value between zero and 255. This model allows 16,777,216 colors to be described. The RGB color space is said to be additive, or descriptive of emitted light (such as a computer monitor or television set). Black is produced when all three primaries are set to zero (no emitted light), while white is produced when all three primaries are set to 255.
A CMYK color can be defined by a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black primary colors, each of which is usually described using a percentage value. This model allows upwards of 100,000,000 colors to be described. The CMYK color space is said to be subtractive, or descriptive of reflected light (such as ink on a printed piece of paper). Black is produced by setting the black (or K) component to 100 percent with the other three components set to zero percent, while white is produced when all four primaries are set to zero (100 percent light reflected).
Generally speaking, RGB is used for maps intended to be viewed on a monitor (for example, Web pages, slide show presentations, and so on), and CMYK is used for maps intended to be printed.
Color depth refers to the number of colors that can be described in a file. The number of bits per pixel indicates how much information is stored for each pixel of an image, and it is also referred to as bit depth. The higher the color depth of an image, the larger the output file will be.
True Color, or 24-bit color, uses 24 bits of information for each pixel to describe the color of that pixel. This depth allows 16,777,216 different colors to be described. This is the best depth for images containing a large number of colors or color raster data. Because of the large amount of information stored per pixel, this depth can produce relatively large output file sizes.
Eight-bit palette images use 8 bits of information for each pixel. This depth allows only 256 different colors to be described. Images stored at this depth have an associated colormap table that stores the colors present in the image. Each color is given an index number between zero and 255. The color of a given pixel in the image is described using this index number. This depth is best used for images containing a relatively small number of colors or large areas of consistent color. This depth produces files that are about one-third the size of a comparable 24-bit image.
Eight-bit grayscale images use 8 bits of information for each pixel. This depth allows 256 shades of gray (ranging from white to black) to be described. This depth is best used for images that only contain shades of gray or are to be printed on black-and-white printers.
One-bit monochrome images use 1 bit of information for each pixel. Pixels are either turned on or turned off. These images are usually displayed in black and white, with "on" pixels being displayed in white. This bit depth is used for special-use images such as fax transmission images, image masks, and so on. This depth produces relatively small output file sizes.
Certain symbols cause maps to be rasterized when output: transparency, BMP picture fill symbols, BMP picture marker symbols, BMP picture line symbols, and any derivative thereof.*
The effect of rasterization is that all layers below the data layer that contains symbology listed above will be converted to a flat raster image in the output file. All layers above will not be affected.
To avoid rasterization, BMP picture symbols should be replaced with vector-only EMF picture fill symbols or with font character-based symbols, or the Vectorize Layers with Bitmap Markers/Fills option should be used. This will cause these symbols to be maintained as editable vectors in output. As transparency is inherently a raster symbol, there is no viable way of avoiding rasterization other than avoiding transparent symbology altogether.
*Using the Vectorize Layers with Bitmap Markers/Fills option will prevent BMP picture fill and BMP picture marker symbols from causing rasterization.
There are two options for exporting a 1-bit image from ArcMap: 1-bit Monochrome Mask and 1-bit Monochrome Threshold. These are chosen from the Color Depth drop-down list. This color depth is supported by the BMP, PNG, TIFF, and GIF exporters.
You can export maps to several industry-standard file formats. These formats are listed and described below.
(Windows Enhanced Metafile)
|EMF files are native Windows graphics files that can contain a mixture of vector and raster data. They are useful for embedding in Windows documents because they can be resized without loss of quality.|
|EPS files use the PostScript page description language to describe vector and raster objects. PostScript is the publishing industry standard for high-end graphics files, cartography, and printing. EPS files can be edited in many drawing applications or placed as a graphic in most page layout applications.|
|AI files are an excellent format for postprocessing in Adobe Illustrator as well as an interchange format for publishing. The ArcMap AI format preserves most layers from the ArcMap table of contents using Optional Content Groups.|
(Portable Document Format)
|PDF files are designed to be consistently viewable and printable across different platforms. They are commonly used for distributing documents on the Web and are becoming a standard interchange format for high-end printing. ArcMap PDFs are editable in many graphics applications and retain annotation, labeling, and most map layers from the ArcMap table of contents.
For more information on PDF layers see, Knowledge Base article 30882.
(Scalable Vector Graphics)
|SVG is an XML-based file format that has been specifically designed for viewing on the Web. SVG can contain both vector and raster information. This is a good choice for displaying maps on a Web page because it is rescalable and more easily edited than raster files. SVG has been gaining in popularity since the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) selected it as their standard vector Web format. Some Web browsers may require a plug-in to view SVG files; older browsers may not be able to view SVG files at all.|
|BMP files are simple, native Windows raster images. BMPs can store pixel data at several bit depths and can be compressed. They do not scale as well as vector files and may appear blocky or jagged when increased in size.|
(Joint Photographic Experts Group)
|JPEG files are compressed image files. They support 24-bit color and are a good choice for use on the Web because they provide control over output quality and size and can be more compact than many other file types.|
(Portable Network Graphics)
|PNG is a raster format designed for use on the Web. It supports 24-bit color and is compressed. PNG files also have the ability to define a transparent color; part of the image can display as transparent in a Web browser, allowing backgrounds, images, or colors to show through. This format is gaining popularity in the Web design community.|
(Tagged Image File Format)
|TIFF files are the most versatile raster format. TIFFs can store pixel data at several bit depths and can be compressed with any of a selection of compression techniques. They are the best choice for importing into image editing applications across operating systems.|
(Graphic Interchange Format)
|GIF files are a standard raster format for use on the Web. GIFs cannot contain more than 256 colors (8 bits per pixel), which makes them smaller than other file formats. They are a good choice for maps that contain a limited number of colors, but may not display raster data correctly due to the color limitation. GIF files also have the ability to define a transparent color; part of the image can display as transparent in a Web browser, allowing backgrounds, images, or colors to show through.|
ArcMap has four exporters that produce Web-ready output; these are JPEG, GIF, PNG, and SVG.
NOTE: When this option is turned on, the file extension will change from .svg to .svgz.
ArcMap has four exporters that produce files that are easily interchangeable with other applications and platforms. These are: PDF, EPS, AI, and EMF.