Cropping a map

Question: I downloaded a map from the Internet and stored it as a .jpg file, but I only need one specific part on the map to print. I tried looking for some way to crop the map but I can’t find one in ArcMap. I tried to crop it first in Paint, but the picture is blurry when I try to magnify it in ArcMap. How do I fix this issue?

Answer: To crop an image in ArcMap you will need to:

  1. Add the image as raster data, making it a layer.
  2. Zoom to the extent you want to crop–resize the ArcMap window if needed.
  3. Right-click on the layer and choose Data –> Export.
  4. In the upper left, change the extent to Data Frame (meaning the current extent).
  5. Set the other export properties and save the cropped image.

Generally speaking the concept of raster data in GIS is agnostic to the meaning of the pixel values, as individuals or as a collective.  This differs from the graphics community which usually assumes you have an image of something, and the most common metaphor is a photo, hence the term “crop”.  The GIS synonym is “clip”.  So there is a Clip tool for Raster data.  If you’ve got lots of images to clip, then that tool is the basis for automation.

Formerly a Mapping Center Ask a Cartographer  Q & A.

About the author

Dr. Aileen Buckley is a cartographer who’s been at Esri since 2003. She finds and shares best practices for mapping and analysis with ArcGIS, which leads her to publish widely and present world-wide.


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