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Understand locator styles

The locator style is the template for a locator. A locator is created based on a specific locator style. Once created, a locator contains the geocoding properties and parameters used in the geocoding processes, components that direct how an address parses, a snapshot of the address attributes in the reference data, and the criteria for performing a geocoding search. The locator also directs the geocoding engine to perform parsing the address, matching of an address against the found candidate, and reverse geocoding an address.

Searching for specific address elements

Addresses consist of specific components referred to as address elements. Each locator style requires that the address information is presented based on some guidelines. Some styles require that the address elements be separated into individual fields in a table.

Locator styles are not limited to street address geocoding. There are other locator styles that can be used for finding places, landmarks, ZIP Codes, or city names.

Specifying reference data containing geometry and address elements for each feature

ArcGIS Pro comes with several predefined locator styles that you can use to create address locators. These address locator styles cover some of the most common address formats. Each address locator style has specific requirements for the reference data that it can use to match addresses.

You have a few options for acquiring reference data for locator styles. You can use data from your organization or data from other data providers. The reference data contains the geometry for each feature and some common address elements. Address elements and their descriptions are shown in the following table:


Left house number range

A low number and a high number of the address range for the left side of the street, such as 100, 198

Right house number range

A low number and a high number of the address range for the right side of the street, such as 101, 199

Prefix direction

A direction that precedes the street name, such as the W in W. Redlands Blvd

Prefix type

A street type that precedes the street name, such as Avenue in Avenue B

Street name

The name of the street, such as Cherry in Cherry Rd

Street type

A street type that follows the street name, such as St. in New York St.

Suffix direction

A direction that follows the street name, such as NW in Bridge St. NW

Unit type

A subaddress unit type that follows the street name, such as Apt in Gilman Ave., Apt 17

Unit ID

A subaddress unit ID that follows the street name, such as 2C in Orange St, Suite 2C

City name

A city name, such as Olympia


A state name or its abbreviation, such as Washington or WA

ZIP Code

The postal codes used by the United States Postal Service, such as 98501

Learn more about commonly used locator styles and the requirements for reference and address data.

Specifying an extent for each feature (optional)

If a locator is specified with predefined x,y minimums and maximums for each feature from the reference data, these values from the locator will be used as the extent to which the feature is zoomed to. The ArcGIS Online World Geocoding Service, for example, contains these predefined values.

The following four elements define the extent of the feature. You can create these fields and assign the values in your reference data. They can be in latitude-longitude coordinates or projected values that are in the same spatial reference of the reference data. You can specify these fields when you create the address locator.



Minimum x-coordinate value


Minimum y-coordinate value


Maximum x-coordinate value


Maximum y-coordinate value

If these fields are not specified, the default zoom scale defined by ArcGIS Pro is used.

Additional reference tables for alternate names and place-name aliases

The reference data discussed above is the primary reference data, which is required to store at least one set of address attributes for each feature. However, a feature can be referred to by many names. For example, the official name for a street is 27th Street, but people may still refer to it as Old County Road 30. In cases where features have multiple names, each alternate name can be stored in another reference table. The records in the table are joined to the primary reference data. Locator styles specify elements in the alternate name table. Using alternate name table is optional when creating the address locator.

Similarly, people frequently know the common name of a location or landmark but don't know its address. For example, many people may know where Mercy Hospital is, but they don't know that its address is 500 E. Market St. To enhance the capability of finding an address for a landmark or a place known by its common name, the location can be searched by its place-name alias or its address. The address locator style specifies the elements in a table containing the location or alias name as well as the address for each name.

Both alternate name and place-name alias tables are optional when creating the address locator.

Specifying input addresses and tables of addresses

Finding individual addresses using a single-line format is supported when typing one address at a time in the Locate pane. The locator style determines how to interpret the single-line input based on the fields expected by the locator for geocoding and searches for the address against the locator accordingly.

When geocoding a table of addresses, each address locator style has different requirements for the information that tables of addresses must contain to be geocoded. The input addresses in the table can be presented in a single field or are required to be broken down into different fields.