ArcMap: Working with multiple DataFrames

April 26, 2008

(From ESRI) The viewer window is a new window that was introduced at 9.2 to enable users to work with one data frame at multiplescales. In the 9.2 release if you opened a viewer window and then activated a different data frame in your map document, the viewer window was automatically closed. In Service Pack 2, ESRI has enhanced viewer windows so that you can use them to view inactive data frames. Now if you activate a different data frame while a viewer window is open, that viewer window remains on-screen, enabling you to work with multiple data frames side by side.

When you work with an inactive data frame in a viewer window, you can easily make the viewer show the same location that is currently displayed in the active data frame in the main ArcMap window. Similarly, you can update the location shown in the active data frame in the main ArcMap window to match the location shown in any of your viewer windows.

The ability to work with multiple data frames side-by-side in ArcMap can be useful for analysis, historical change assessment, data evaluation, and other applications where you want to be able to see different datasets for the same area side by side, as opposed to working with all the data in one data frame, or working with multiple map documents.

Pictures and more details demonstrating this can be found here