Style data by type using unique symbols


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 apply a style to data.
  • ArcGIS account type—Standard users can perform the functions of this workflow; you do not need to sign in.

You can use unique symbols to show different types of categorical data on a map.

See Data styles to learn about data style options and Smart map styles to learn about smart map cards.

Unique symbols are designed to illustrate categorical data on an ArcGIS for Microsoft 365 map, not counts or numeric measurements. For example, you can use different colors and shapes to represent different types of road networks or highways as shown in the following image.

Styling data by type using unique symbols
Refer to Unique types for more information about this type of map.

A maximum of 200 unique values can be used, and 10 colors are available. The same color can represent multiple categories. Unique symbols are most informative when the data contains up to 10 categories—for example, restaurant types, tree species, or political parties.


Add categorical (non-numeric) data to the Color column or field well before you begin.

  1. Follow the steps in the Apply a style workflow for your component:
  2. At the choose a smart map style step, choose the Types (unique symbols) style card.
  3. Hover over the style card and click Style options Style options to customize the look of the layer.

    The layer updates to style types using unique symbols, and the style options appear.

  4. Define the style options by doing any of the following:
    • Expand Symbology and specify the symbol settings to change the symbol.
    • Expand Color ramps and choose a ramp. You can choose from several collections of color ramps, including ramps that are optimized for color vision deficiency or best for dark backgrounds. You can also click Reverse color ramp Reverse color ramp to change the sequence of colors in the ramp.

      Hover over a color ramp to see its name.

    • Expand Unique values and click the color chip next to an item in the list to customize its symbol settings. Different style options are available depending on the data (points, lines, or areas). For example, you can change the symbol shape, fill color, and outline of point data. This display type is often used with thematic data, such as risk zones.
    • For the best visualization, include fewer than 10 categories in the layer. More than 10 are difficult to distinguish by color alone. If you include more than 10, only the 10 with the highest counts are shown. The remaining categories are automatically grouped into the Others category. If the feature count cannot be determined, the first 9 categories are listed in alphabetical order, and the rest are grouped in the Others category.
      • To add an item to the Others category, click Move value in Move value in.
      • To ungroup an item from the Others category, click Move value out Move value out.
      • To ungroup all observations at the same time, click Move all values out Move all values out.
      • To hide features listed in the Others category on the map, uncheck the check box; to show them, leave the check box unchecked.
    • Expand Transparency, turn on the Enable Transparency toggle button, and specify the transparency settings.
    • Expand Rotate symbols, turn on the Use rotation toggle button, and specify the rotation settings.

      The Rotate symbols and Transparency options are not available in ArcGIS for Power BI.

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