Use style options

ArcGIS for Office allows you to explore your data in different ways through a variety of smart mapping styles. When you style map layers, the type of data determines the default styling options. You can experiment with color ramps, line weights, transparency, symbols, and other graphic elements, and see your choices reflected immediately on the map.

Change symbol style

You can choose from a variety of symbol options when styling your layer. The available options depend on the smart mapping style applied to the layer and the type of features in your layer (point, line, or polygon).

To change the symbol style for all the features in your layer, do the following:

  1. At the top of the layer list, select Layer options Layer options.

    The layer options appear, with the Styling pane open by default.

  2. On the style card selected for the layer, click Style options Style options.

    Options for the style appear.

  3. Click Symbology to expand the section and click Advanced options.

    Advanced options for shape, fill, and outline appear.

  4. For Shape, if your layer has point features, select a symbol set from the Symbols drop-down menu.
    • To use a basic shape such as a circle or square, select the shape from the Basic symbol set, optionally adjust the size, and specify the fill and outline options (as described below).
    • To use an icon from one of the other symbol sets, click the icon and adjust the size as needed.
  5. For Fill, select a color from the color picker or specify a custom color using RGB or hexadecimal values. Optionally, use the Fill transparency slider to apply transparency to the fill.

    Tip:

    To hide the fill, turn off the Enable fill toggle button.

  6. Specify any of the following settings, depending on the feature type:
    • Under Outline, select a color or specify a custom color using RGB or hexadecimal values. Optionally, use the Outline width and Outline transparency sliders to change the width and apply transparency to the outline.
      Tip:

      To hide the outline, turn off the Enable outline toggle button. The toggle button is disabled when styling line features.

    • For line and polygon features, optionally select a pattern for the outline using the Outline pattern drop-down menu.
  7. For styles that include a color ramp—for example, Heat Map and Counts and Amounts (color)—select a color ramp.

    You can filter the color ramp options by choosing a color ramp category from the drop-down menu—for example, Best for dark backgrounds or Colorblind friendly—and optionally click Reverse ramp colors Reverse ramp colors to flip the ramp.

    Tip:

    To see the name of a color ramp, point to it.

  8. Click Back Back to close the Styling pane and view the layer list.

Set transparency by attribute

When styling a layer using most smart mapping styles, you can set the transparency per feature in your layer if you have numeric or date data associated with your locations. Setting the transparency based on attribute values in your data allows you to vary how much transparency is applied to each location based on a numeric attribute. For example, if your layer contains income data, you can adjust the transparency of each location proportional to its income.

  1. At the top of the layer list, select Layer options Layer options.

    The layer options appear, with the Styling pane open by default.

  2. On the style card selected for the layer, click Style options Style options.

    Options for the style appear.

  3. Click Transparency to expand the section and turn on the Enable transparency toggle button.

    Options for configuring transparency by attribute appear.

    Note:

    The Transparency option is not available for some smart mapping styles, including Heat map.

  4. From the Field drop-down menu, select a numeric or date attribute to use as the basis for the transparency.
  5. Optionally, select an attribute from the Divided by drop-down menu to use to standardize or normalize your data, such as dividing population by area or costs by total population.
  6. Adjust the position of the handles to change how the transparency gradient is applied. You can also click the numeric values next to the slider handles and type precise values.
  7. For Transparency range, adjust the percent of transparency for the high and low ends of the ramp. Note that 0 percent transparency is a solid color (fully opaque).
  8. Click Back Back to close the Styling pane and view the layer list.

Set rotation by attribute

Rotate symbols by an angle, determined by a chosen field, when you want the symbol to reflect direction—for example, the direction the wind is blowing or a vehicle is traveling. When selecting a symbol style, choose one that points north so that the rotation matches the resulting direction of the symbol.

To rotate symbols, do the following:

  1. At the top of the layer list, select Layer options Layer options.

    The layer options appear, with the Styling pane open by default.

  2. On the style card selected for the layer, click Style options Style options.

    Options for the style appear.

  3. Click Rotate symbols and turn on the Use rotation toggle button.
  4. From the Field drop-down menu, select an attribute value to represent the rotation.
  5. Select one of the following:

    Geographic

    Angles are measured clockwise from the 12 o'clock position (geographic rotation).

    Geographic rotation

    Arithmetic

    Angles are measured counterclockwise from the 3 o'clock position (arithmetic rotation).

    Note:

    With arithmetic rotation, the symbol—assumed to be pointing north—is first rotated 90 degrees clockwise to align with 0 degrees before the counterclockwise rotation from the field attribute is applied.

    Arithmetic rotation

  6. Click Back Back to close the Styling pane and view the layer list.

Classification methods

If you style a layer using color or size to show numeric data, the layer is styled by default using a continuous color ramp (see Counts and Amounts (color)) or a sequence of proportional symbols (see Counts and Amounts (size)). You can also classify your data—that is, divide it into classes or groups—and define the ranges and breaks for the classes. For example, you can group the ages of individuals into classes of 10 (0–9, 10–19, 20–29, and so on). Classification allows you to create a more generalized (less detailed) picture of your data to tell a specific story.

Depending on how much data you have in your layer, you can also choose the number of classes—1 through 10. The more data you have, the more classes you can have. The way in which you define the class ranges and breaks—the high and low values that bracket each class—determines which features fall into each class and what the layer looks like. By changing the classes using different classification methods, you can create different-looking maps. Generally, the goal is to ensure that features with similar values are in the same class.

Equal interval

Equal interval classification divides the range of attribute values into subranges of equal size. With this classification method, you specify the number of intervals (or subranges), and the data is divided automatically. For example, if you specify three classes for an attribute field with values ranging from 0 to 300, three classes with ranges of 0–100, 101–200, and 201–300 are created.

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 can show that a store is part of the group of stores that make up the top one-third of all sales.

Natural breaks

Natural breaks (also known as Jenks Optimal) classes are based on natural groupings inherent in the data. Class breaks that best group similar values and maximize the differences between classes—for example, tree height in a national forest—are identified. The features are divided into classes whose boundaries are set where there are relatively big differences in the data values.

Because natural breaks classification places clustered values in the same class, this method is good for mapping data values that are not evenly distributed.

Standard deviation

Standard deviation classification shows how much a feature's attribute value varies from the mean. By emphasizing values above the mean and below the mean, standard deviation classification helps show which features are above or below an average value. Use this classification method when it is important to know how values relate to the mean, such as when looking at population density in a given area, or comparing foreclosure rates across the country. For greater detail in your map, you can change the class size from 1 standard deviation to .5 standard deviation.

Quantile

With quantile classification, each class contains an equal number of features—for example, 10 per class or 20 per class. There are no empty classes or classes with too few or too many values. Quantile classification is well suited to linearly (evenly) distributed data. If you need to have the same number of features or values in each class, use quantile classification.

Because features are grouped in equal numbers in each class, 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.

Manual breaks

To define your own classes, you can manually add class breaks and set class ranges that are appropriate for your data. Alternatively, you can start with one of the standard classification methods and make adjustments as needed. There may already be certain standards or guidelines for mapping your data—for example, an agency may use standard classes or breaks for all maps, such as the Fujita scale (F-scale) used to classify tornado strength.