This is an archive related to a previous version of ArcGIS Maps for Office. If you need the current version go to http://doc.arcgis.com/en/maps-for-office/.

Change a layer's style

Maps are powerful because they help us gain a deeper understanding of our data by allowing us to visualize it in many different ways. For example, population data for countries can be visualized as a sequence of colors, such as from light-to-dark, or as graduated circles, such as from small-to-large. But this flexibility means that making maps involves making decisions when there isn't always a single best answer. Fortunately, for any given data or layer, ArcGIS Maps for Office allows you to explore different styling options using smart mapping defaults. When you use the Layer Style feature, the styling choices you see are determined by the nature of your data. Once you've decided on the form of your features—for example, circles or colors to show population—you can make choices to change their appearance. ArcGIS Maps for Office gives you control over the graphic elements such as the color ramps, line weights, transparency, and symbols.

Layer Style workflow

The styling choices you see when you click Layer Style are determined by the nature of the data you're mapping. For example, you'll see different styling choices if your layer is composed of points, lines, or polygons. The styling options are also influenced by the kind of data associated with features in the layer. For example, a point feature may only have location information such as geographic coordinate location, categorical information such as retail location type, or numerical information such as sales details. Not every styling type can be used for every kind of data. By discerning these facts about your layer, ArcGIS Maps for Office can present the best styling choices.

Layer style workflow

When you add a new layer to your map, ArcGIS Maps for Office provides styling suggestions for the layer based on its content. You can change the style of a layer at any time using the Layer Style pane.

To change the style of a layer, do the following:

  1. Sign in to ArcGIS if you are not already signed in.
  2. In the Map Contents pane, click the layer that you want to style and click Layer Style on the ArcGIS Maps ribbon.

    The Layer Style options pane opens, showing the current style settings for that layer. Use this pane to customize the look of your layer.

    Layer Style pane

  3. To use a different style for the layer, click Choose another style and select a style from the available options.

    Only the options that apply to the specified attribute appear in the carousel. For example, If you choose the location only attribute, available drawing styles include Location (Single symbol) and, for point layers, Heat Map. If you specify an attribute that contains numeric data, you can choose from several different mapping styles.

  4. Change the layer style options as desired. Different options are available for each drawing style; refer to the sections below for detailed information about each style.
  5. Click OK when you're finished customizing your style, or click Cancel to return to the Layer Style pane without saving any of your changes.

Style by location (using a single symbol)

Drawing your data using a single symbol gives you a sense of how features are distributed—whether they're clustered or dispersed—and may reveal hidden patterns. For example, mapping a list of restaurant locations, you would likely see that the restaurants are clustered together in a business district.

Style a layer using a single symbol

To style your location data using a single symbol, do the following:

  1. Choose the Location (Single symbol) style and click Options.
  2. Do any of the following:
    • To change the symbol, click Symbols and change the parameters. For more information, see Change the symbol.
    • If you're mapping point symbols that have numeric information attached to the points—for example, the direction in which the wind is blowing—you can set a rotation angle based on that numeric attribute. For more information, see Rotate symbols.
    • To change the transparency for the overall layer, move the Transparency slider to the left (less transparent) or the right (more transparent). To adjust the transparency of locations per feature, click Attribute Values and select an attribute field. You can also select an attribute to divide by (for normalizing the data) and set precise transparency values. You can only adjust per feature if you have numeric data associated with your locations. For example, if your layer contains income data, you could adjust the transparency of each location proportional to its income.
    • To have ArcGIS Maps for Office calculate and set the optimal visible range, click Suggest beside the Visible Range slider. You can also manually set the visible range by moving the slider.
  3. Click OK to apply the styling changes.

Style by type (using unique symbols)

Use unique symbols to show different kinds of things (categorical data), not counts of numerical measurements. For example, you can use different colors to represent the type of products in which stores specialize. Ideally, your layer would show fewer than 10 categories; more categories than that become hard to distinguish by color alone. As a default, if your data has more than 10 categories, the 10 most common will be shown and the remaining will be grouped together into a single others category. If the counts of your features cannot be determined, ArcGIS Maps for Office shows the first nine alphabetical categories individually and groups the remainder into the others category.

Style a layer by type using unique symbols

To style your data by type using unique symbols, do the following:

  1. Choose an attribute to show.
  2. Choose the Types (Unique symbols) style and click Options.

    The style options pane opens, showing available options for the selected attribute.

  3. Do any of the following:
    • To customize any of the categories individually, click the colored symbol beside each category in the list. Depending whether your data is points, lines, or polygons, you'll see appropriate styling options for each kind of symbol. For example, if your data is points, you can change the shape, fill color, outline, and size of the point symbol. For more information, see Change the symbol.
    • To modify all the symbols at once, click the Change all symbols button (Change all symbols) and change the parameters.
    • To reorder the categories, click on the left side of a category and move it up or down in the list.
    • If you have more than 10 categories in your data, some of the categories may be grouped automatically into others. To ungroup these observations one at a time, click the Move value out button (Move value out) beside the category name. To ungroup all others values into the main list, click the Move all values out button (Move all values out).

      You can choose to show or hide the features categorized as others. Check the box to show them; uncheck it to hide them.

    • If you are mapping point symbols that have numeric information attached to the points—for example, the direction in which the wind is blowing—you can set a rotation angle based on that numeric attribute. For more information, see Rotate symbols.
    • To change the transparency for the overall layer, move the Transparency slider to the left (less transparent) or the right (more transparent). To adjust the transparency of locations per feature, click Attribute Values and choose an attribute field. You can also select an attribute to divide by (for normalizing the data) and set precise transparency values. You can only adjust per feature if you have numeric data associated with your locations. For example, if your layer contains income data, you could adjust the transparency of each location proportional to its income.
    • To have ArcGIS Maps for Office calculate and set the optimal visible range, click Suggest beside the Visible Range slider. You can also manually set the visible range by moving the slider.
  4. Click OK to apply the styling changes.

Style by counts and amounts (using colors)

If you have numeric data, you may want to distinguish features based on a color gradient. There are different kinds of color gradients that you can use; for example, a simple light-to-dark color scheme is good for showing low-to-high data values such as profit or revenue. Color sequences like this can be applied to points, lines, or polygons.

Style a layer by Counts and Amounts using colors

To style counts and amounts using colors, do the following:

  1. Choose the attribute to show. For this mapping style, choose an attribute that contains numeric values.
  2. Choose the Counts and Amounts (Color) style and click Options.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • If your data isn't already normalized, use Divided By to turn your raw data into rates or percentages.
    • Choose a theme for the gradient. A number of different color themes are available: High to low, Above and below, Centered on, and Extremes. Each tells a different story by matching colors to data in different ways.
    • To change how the data is applied to the color sequence, use the handles along the color ramp. You can adjust this by dragging the handles or clicking the number beside the handle and typing a precise value. Experiment with the position of the handles to fine-tune the message of the map. Use the histogram beside the color ramp to see the distribution of the data.
    • To select a different color sequence, or to change other graphic parameters such as stroke weights and colors, click Symbols and change the parameters.
    • To see details in the histogram more closely, click Zoom in.

    • To further generalize your map, check Classify Data and choose the classification method, the number of classes, and options for rounding out the classes. For more information, see Classification methods. If you're using standard deviation, choose the interval. You can also click Legend to manually edit the symbols and labels for the classes in the map legend.
    • To draw locations that are missing data or that are out of range on the map, check Draw features with no values. Uncheck to hide the features.
    • If you are mapping point symbols that have numeric information attached to the points—for example, the direction in which the wind is blowing—you can set a rotation angle based on that numeric attribute. For more information, see Rotate symbols.
    • To change the transparency, move the Transparency slider to the left (less transparent) or the right (more transparent).
    • To have ArcGIS Maps for Office calculate and set the optimal visible range, click Suggest beside the Visible Range slider. You can also manually set the visible range by moving the slider.
  4. Click OK to apply the styling changes.

Style by counts and amounts (using sizes)

This map style uses a sequence of different sizes to represent your numerical data, allowing you to visually compare quantities and identify trends. Points, lines, and polygons can all be drawn using this approach. In these proportional symbol maps, larger symbols represent larger numbers. Adjust the size of the symbols to clarify the story you're telling. For example, you could use graduated symbols to show store revenue. Polygon features are displayed as graduated points over polygons.

Style a layer by counts and amounts using sizes

To style counts and amounts by size, do the following:

  1. Choose the attribute to show. For this mapping style, choose an attribute that contains numeric values.
  2. Choose the Counts and Amounts (Size) style and click Options.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • If your data isn't already normalized, use Divided By to turn your raw data into rates or percentages.
    • To change how the data is applied to the color sequence, use the handles along the color ramp. You can adjust this by dragging the handles or clicking the number beside the handle and typing a precise value. Experiment with the position of the handles to fine-tune the message of the map. Use the histogram beside the color ramp to see the distribution of the data.
    • To change the styling of your proportional symbols, click Symbols and change the parameters.
    • To see details in the histogram more closely, click Zoom in.

    • Choose to adjust size range automaticallyor specify the size range. When you choose the automatic option, symbols are optimized for the initial map zoom level and automatically adjust so they look better across zoom levels.
    • If you are mapping data associated with polygons, check Polygons to adjust the fill and stroke properties of the polygons.
    • To further generalize your map, check Classify Data and choose the classification method, the number of classes, and options for rounding out the classes. For more information, see Classification methods. If you're using standard deviation, choose the interval. You can also click Legend to manually edit the symbols and labels for the classes in the map legend.
    • To draw locations that are missing data or that are out of range on the map, check Draw features with no values. Uncheck to hide the features.
    • If you're mapping point symbols that have numeric information attached to the points—for example, the direction in which the wind is blowing—you can set a rotation angle based on that numeric attribute. For more information, see Rotate symbols.
    • To change the transparency, move the Transparency slider to the left (less transparent) or the right (more transparent).
    • To have ArcGIS Maps for Office calculate and set the optimal visible range, click Suggest beside the Visible Range slider. You can also manually set the visible range by moving the slider.
  4. Click OK to apply the styling changes.

Style by heat map

Heat maps can be used when mapping the location of point features. They are useful when many of the points on the map are close together and cannot be easily distinguished. Heat maps use the points in the layer to calculate and display the relative density of points on the map as smoothly varying sets of colors ranging from cool (low density of points) to hot (many points). It's best to avoid heat maps if you have only a few point features; instead, map the actual points.

Style a layer using a heat map

To style your location data using a heat map, do the following:

  1. Choose the attribute to show.

    You can only generate a heat map from a points layer.

  2. Choose the Heat Map style and click Options.
  3. Do any of the following:
    • To change how the colors are applied based on density, adjust the position of the High and Low handles on the color ramp slider.
    • To make the clusters become larger and smoother, or smaller and more distinct, adjust the Area of Influence slider.
    • To select a different color ramp, click Symbols and choose from the available color ramps. Click the Invert color ramp button (Invert Color Ramp button) to change the direction of the color values.
    • To change the transparency, move the Transparency slider to the left (less transparent) or the right (more transparent).
    • To have ArcGIS Maps for Office calculate and set the optimal visible range, click Suggest beside the Visible Range slider. You can also manually set the visible range by moving the slider.
  4. Click OK to apply the styling changes.

General styling options

After you've chosen the type of styling to use for your layer, you can change or rotate the symbols.

Change the symbol

To use different symbols in a layer, you can change all the symbols at once. The choices you see depend on the type of symbols you're using.

To change symbols, click Symbols and make any of the following changes:

  • For Shape, choose a symbol set and click the symbol you want to use. For Location (Single symbol), adjust the size of the shape.
  • To use your own custom symbol, click Use an image, provide the URL of the image file, and click the Add (+) button. For best results, your image should not exceed 120 x 120 pixels; other sizes will be adjusted to fit. Acceptable image formats include PNG, GIF, and JPG.
  • For Fill, choose a color and adjust the transparency. For Counts and Amounts (Color), choose a color ramp. Click the Invert color ramp button (Invert Color Ramp button) to change the direction of the color values.
  • For Outline, choose a color, change the transparency, and specify a line width and pattern. When working with polygons, check Adjust outline automatically so that outlines will automatically change as you zoom in and out of the map.

Rotate symbols

You can rotate individual symbols on a layer by a number of degrees, based on the values of a specified attribute. For example, you can rotate symbols to show the direction in which the wind is blowing or in which a vehicle is traveling.

  1. To rotate symbols, check the Rotate symbols (degrees) box.
  2. From the drop-down list, select the attribute to use to set the rotation angle, and choose to have the angles measured clockwise (geographic) or counter clockwise (arithmetic).