Set layer transparency


You need the following account and license types to use this workflow:

  • Microsoft license—You need a Microsoft 365 license, role Contributor or higher, to use this workflow.
  • ArcGIS account type—Standard users can perform the basic functions of this workflow; you do not need to sign in.

You can set the layer transparency in an ArcGIS for Excel map.

See Layers to learn more about layers.

Setting the transparency, or opacity, of a layer in a map allows you to see more, or less, of the underlying layers. You can set the transparency of any layer from 0 percent to 100 percent. The more transparent a layer, the less visible it appears on the map and the more visible the other layers appear. To focus attention on a specific layer, make that layer fully visible and add transparency to the other layers.


The basemap layer is always 0 percent transparent, meaning that it is always visible.

To set the transparency of a layer, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Layers list, click Layer options Layer options.

    The layer options appear.

  2. Select the layer to modify from the Active layer drop-down menu.
  3. From the layer options, click Properties Properties.

    The Properties pane appears.

  4. Use the Layer transparency slider to set the transparency, moving it left to make the layer less transparent or right to make it more transparent.

    You can also click the slider track to move the slider handle to that location or click the percentage value and type a new value.

    A layer with 0 percent transparency has no transparency applied and appears completely opaque. A layer with 100 percent transparency does not appear on the map.

  5. Click the Back button Back to close the Properties pane and return to the Layers list.