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Define a style for areas

When you create a style definition in Location Architect, you can define style properties for areas. You can divide area features into groups and style each group with a different color. For example, you might want to use different colors to denote sales territories classified by revenue range.

Grouping methods

When defining style properties for area features, you must choose the attribute form or metric to use to group them. If the attribute form or metric you choose is numeric, you must also choose a method for grouping your data. If you choose to group your data by categories, your data will be grouped and styled based on a common value for the field you chose for grouping (for example, business types such as retail or wholesale).

If your data has numeric fields, you can choose to group it by number ranges. For this grouping option, you must choose a classification method. Each classification method takes your data and divides it into classes (groups). Classification method options include Equal Interval, Natural Breaks, and Quantile. The value at which a feature is placed into a different class is often referred to as a class break. The way in which class breaks are determined by each grouping method is discussed below.

Equal Interval

With the Equal Interval classification method, the range of all of your data values is divided into equal-sized subranges. With Equal Interval classification, you specify the number of intervals (or subranges), and Esri Maps for MicroStrategy automatically determines how to divide the data. For example, if you specify three classes for a field whose values range from 0 to 300, Esri Maps for MicroStrategy creates three classes with ranges of 0–100, 101–200, and 201–300. Equal Interval is best applied to familiar data ranges, such as percentages and temperature. This method emphasizes the amount of an attribute value relative to other values. For example, it shows that a store is part of the group of stores that make up the top one-third of all sales.

Natural Breaks

Natural Breaks classes are based on natural groupings inherent in the data. Class breaks that best group similar values and that maximize the differences between classes are identified. The features are divided into classes whose boundaries are set where there are relatively big differences in the data values. Natural Breaks classification is good for mapping data values that are not evenly distributed as it places clustered values in the same class.


In Quantile classification, each class contains an equal number of features (for example, 10 per class or 20 per class). A quantile classification is well suited to linearly distributed data. It is useful when you want to emphasize the relative position of a feature among other features—for example, to show that a store is in the top quarter of all stores by sales. Quantile classification assigns the same number of data values to each class. There are no empty classes or classes with too few or too many values. Because features are grouped in equal numbers in each class using quantile classification, the resulting map can often be misleading. Similar features can be placed in adjacent classes, or features with widely different values can be put in the same class. You can minimize this distortion by increasing the number of classes.

Set style properties for areas

The style properties you set are saved immediately to the style definition.

  1. In the Style definitions table, choose the attribute form or metric for which you want to define style properties.
  2. In the right pane, press the Area tab if it is not already selected.
  3. From the Choose column to group drop-down menu, choose a column.
  4. If the column you chose does not contain numeric data, choose the desired colors from the Color scheme drop-down menu, and skip the remaining steps.
  5. If the column you chose contains numeric data, press the Group column values by drop-down arrow and do one of the following:
    • Choose Number ranges to classify values into groups by numeric order and assign a group style.
    • Choose Categories to assign a style to each unique value.
  6. If you chose Number ranges from the Group column values by drop-down menu, do the following:
    1. From the Classification method drop-down menu, choose the desired grouping method.
    2. Using the Number of groups slider, specify the number of groups to use for the data. You may have between two and seven groups.
    3. Choose the desired colors from the Color ramp drop-down menu. Check the Reverse colors check box to reverse the colors in the selected color ramp. The default color ramps cannot be changed or edited.
  7. If you chose Categories from the Group column values by drop-down menu, choose the desired colors from the Color scheme drop-down menu.