Reviewing the current map document (Aviation)

Quality control of your map document and your final .pdf files is an important step in map making. Reviewing your map document is a necessary step before sending the .pdf files to the offset printing system. You can use free applications, like Adobe Reader, for some review workflows. You can use these applications to ensure that the correct features have the desired tint value and overprint or knockout settings. However, you cannot use many of these applications to verify that specific map features are on the correct color plate.

The Show Preview and Evaluate Map functions supplement these quality control workflows by allowing the identification of all the unique colors in the current map document. These functions create .pdf files that isolate features based on one or more specified colors.

Color previews open in the PDF viewing application that is registered on your system. If you choose four or more colors, you can preview colors separated into individual PDFs or combined into a single document. You can also specify which colors to preview (input or output), and apply user-defined colors to strokes, fills, and backgrounds.


Show preview .pdf files are only intended for quality control workflows specific to identifying what features are on what color plate. They are not intended to provide a review of other print settings such as tint and overprint or other pdf setting such as security or georeferencing information. Other tools and workflows should be used to review these settings.

The preview .pdf files are created directly in your user's Temp directory. The specific location will be different depending on the operating system. For example, on Windows 7 the location will be similar to:

C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\Temp\arc<3 digit alphanumeric>\<date> Production PDF\<preview color space and values>(<input/output>)<time>.pdf

C:\Users\JohnDoe\AppData\Local\Temp\arc13D\2012-01-01 Production PDF\CMYK 0 0 0 100(output) 15-57-25.pdf

The temporary files will be automatically removed when the ArcMap session is closed. However, if the PDF viewing application is not closed when ArcMap is closed, the files are locked and not removed. The PDF files will remain as long as the PDF viewing application is open. These locks are released when the PDF application is closed and the files will be removed from the Temp folder the next time another preview is generated.


Show Preview is not supported for raster components of a map document.

The Evaluate map function evaluates the ArcMap display for unique colors. Sometimes the Evaluate map function will return colors that are not visible in ArcMap. These extra colors are the results of ArcMap’s advanced cartography effects and its display environment. Extra colors will not appear where the advanced cartographic affects work at the database level such as layer definition queries and data frame clipping. Cartographic effects that produce the extra colors include the following:

You can use Production PDF Show Preview functions to validate if a color comes from a feature in ArcMap.


When previewing output colors, previews will show features defined with that specific color and any features assigned the All color. The tint and overprint settings used to display the All color are those defined in the Color Mapping Rules dialog box.

All color features can also be previewed specifically and only features defined with the All color will be displayed. No features defined with other colors will be highlighted when the preview is All colors.

  1. Start ArcMap.
  2. On the main menu, click File > Export Map.

    The Export Map dialog box appears.

  3. Click the Save as type drop-down arrow and choose Production PDF.
  4. Click the Production tab.
  5. Click Map Colors.

    The Color Mapping Rules dialog box appears.

  6. Click Evaluate map.

    The Current Map Analysis dialog box appears. A list of unique colors from the map displays in the Current Map Analysis dialog box.

  7. Click Select All.
  8. Click Add.

    The Current Map Analysis dialog box closes. The list of unique colors displays in the Color Mapping Rules dialog box.

  9. Double click an output cell in the table of colors.

    The Output Color Selector dialog box appears.

  10. Click the RGB drop-down arrow and choose CMYK.

    The three RGB color components change to four CMYK color components. CMYK color components display as a percentage of color saturation.


    You can also choose RGB or Spot for output color.

  11. Click OK.

    The Color Mapping Rules dialog box appears.

  12. Click Preview Settings.

    Make sure the row that you changed in steps 9-11 is highlighted before you click Preview Settings.

    The Preview Settings dialog box appears.

  13. Choose Output Colors.

    This creates the color preview using the output colors you defined in your color mapping rules.

  14. Check the Show preview in these colors check box.

    Three colors display in the table beneath Show preview in these colors.


    Show preview in these colors allows you to emphasize or accentuate a color. It provides a temporary color substitution without changing color mapping rules.


    Sometimes features in the map document overlap. This may obscure another feature or specific colors you are trying to locate. A useful technique to help isolate such features or colors is setting user defined preview colors with a null color. If a null color is defined for the features higher in the draw order, the lower obscured features will become visible. This allows you to more easily validate the correct color mapping and map document settings.

  15. Click OK.

    The Preview Settings dialog box closes. The Color Mapping Rules dialog box appears.

  16. Click Show preview.

    A PDF opens in the PDF viewing application registered on your system. The fill color that you set in Show preview in these colors in the Preview Settings dialog box is displayed for any output polygon fill in the PDF.

  17. Close the PDF viewing application.