National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Create Layout and Update Dynamic Text

Using templates to create layouts in ArcGIS Pro is a great way to have a map ready to go quickly.

ArcGIS Pro allows users to apply pre-formatted layout templates to easily create print-ready maps. The use of templates dramatically speeds the job of the GISS allowing them to apply legends, scale bars, graticules, and other STANDL elements to their map. Using templates allows the GISS to provide a quicker standardized product to the firefighters.

Job Aids

Layout Templates

The Pro Project Template includes preconfigured layouts for the most common page sizes, which are already tied to the included map view.

All the text elements in these layouts are dynamic. The project specific items (Title, Author) are sourced from map view metadata, while incident-wide elements (Date and Operational Period, Incident Name, Incident ID, Current Acreage) are sourced from the DynamicTextUpdate table in the other_incident_data GDB. This should further reduce time spent updating daily products.

Creating a New Incident Product

After using Save As to create a new Master Project from the Pro Project Template, repairing the Event layer paths to the Master Incident GDB, and adding any necessary ancillary data, and otherwise configuring the map view as desired, a layout can be selected for the product.

  1. From the Contents pane in the Catalog view, open the project Layouts. Make a copy of the appropriate size and orientation for the product to preserve the original template. At minimum, replace “Layout” with the map product type in the layout name (e.g. iap_11x17_Land). Layouts with the “_Sidebar” are preferred for multipage maps as all the map elements are placed off of the Map Frame in a separate area of the Layout. This ensures no data will be accidentally covered up on the map.

  2. Activate the map frame from the Layout ribbon and zoom or pan to the area of interest. This can be done several ways including manually, Zoom to Layer, a Bookmark, and Zoom/Pan to Feature. Double-check the scale is correct for the product.
    Layout ribbon, Activate button highlighted.
  3. Close the Activation when the map displays the desired area at the appropriate scale.
    Close Activation Map button.

Dynamic Text

Dynamic text changes dynamically based on the current properties of the project and allows for the insertion of automatically updating values into the layout. Dynamic text works using tags, like HTML, and can be added on its own or in conjunction with static text.

It is very useful to automate some of the more tedious aspects of map creation such as updating each map's creation date and time, providing the file path of the map document, and now with Pro: setting the incident information (name, unique fire ID) and updating the fire acres for every project at once using dynamic text set to a table value.

Using dynamic text can be an enormous benefit to the consistency and accuracy of map creation.

Job Aids


Each layout in the Pro Project Template comes preconfigured with dynamic text. Instructions for use are included in a text element in each layout.

Layout title box template.


  • Elements highlighted in Yellow are sourced from the Map View Metadata. These will apply to all templates in that APRX.
  • Elements highlighted in Green are sourced from the DynamicTextUpdate table. These will apply to all the templates in all the APRXs for the incident.
  • The scale, date/time, and datum are sourced from the system.

Update Dynamic Text

  1.  From the Catalog view, right-click the map view and select Edit Metadata.
  2. Enter the map title under Title.
    Enter the author name or initials under Credits.

  3. Click Apply to save the changes.

    The Layout may need to be refreshed for the text to update.

    Enter Title Here, Incident Name , Unit and Fire ID Date and OP of Use, 99,999 acres at effective Date Time IAP Demo AB-CDE-000123, June 18, 2023 Day, 1,250 acres at 6/7/2023 2130hr

  4. If the Date and OP of Use, Acres, or Acres Effective Date are incorrect, this and any other projects should be closed and the DynamicTextUpdate table should be edited from the Edit Project.
  5. Make any final adjustments to layout elements:
  • Add a Team logo.
  • Move or resize the Legend.
  • Adjust the scale bar.
  • Etc.

Create Different Size or Area of the same Product

Once a product has been created at one size, to recreate it with different dimensions simply open the desired layout size and follow the same steps.

To create the same product in multiple areas, make a copy of the layout and activate the map frame to set the new area and scale.

All the map elements (symbology, annotation, basemaps, etc) will be the same because all the layouts are tied to the same map view.

All the text elements will be identical and prepopulate because they are all tied to the same dynamic settings.


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