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Display filters

Display filters use queries to specify which features of a layer are drawn at which scale ranges in a map. Display filters only affect the features that are drawn. Features that are excluded by the active display filter query are still part of the layer. They appear in the layer's attribute table and can be selected, identified, and even edited. These features participate in geoprocessing operations as well. Display filters affect the labeling of the layer. Only visible features are labeled. Display filters are available only in 2D maps. They cannot be set in scenes.

Display filters are a property of the layer. This means that they persist even if you change the way the layer is symbolized. The display filter queries can leverage any of the feature attributes, not just those that are used to specify the symbology of the features. For example, you may symbolize a line layer of road features by road class, using different symbols for streets, major roads, and highways. But you may use display filter queries to show only roads that have a minimum traffic volume (regardless of road type) at smaller scales.

  1. Select a feature layer in the Contents pane.
  2. Under Feature Layer, on the Appearance tab, in the Drawing group, click Display Filters Display Filters.
  3. Check Enable display filters.

    The top row of the table shows the scale range. One display filter, named <all features>, is present.

  4. Use the slider at the top row of table to change the scale boundaries for the display filter. The scale stops on the slider are determined by the list of map scales. See Map scales and scale properties to learn how to customize the list of map scales and set up map scale aliases.
  5. Click the Show query button Show Query next to the display filter name to open the query builder. Use clauses to build a query to define which features to show at this scale range. See Write a query in the query builder to learn more about writing queries.
  6. Optionally click the name of the display filter, <all features>, to rename it descriptively.
  7. To add additional display filters, click the Add Display Filter button Add display filter at the top of the pane. This adds a substop into the main slider at the top, and a new display filter entry in the table. Move the substops to adjust the scale boundaries of each display filter. Define the query and edit the filter name as desired. Display filters are mutually exclusive across the scale range of the layer. They cannot be set up to overlap one another.

    Drag the interim stops to a new scale location, or click them to open a pop-up to choose a different map scale. You work only with the stops on the main slider, but the subsliders below give you a visual understanding of the scale ranges of each symbol.

  8. To temporarily suspend the display filters, uncheck the Enable display filters check box at the top of the pane. The scale settings and queries remain intact, but layer drawing does not respect them until the check box is checked again. This way you can easily compare the display at different scales with and without the filters applied.

When setting scale ranges, it is important to understand what happens at scale boundaries. Ideally, you avoid both drawing conflicts and gaps. Two versions of a feature should not draw simultaneously at scale boundaries, but a small scale gap where neither version of the feature draws is not acceptable either. Ensure that the Draw up to and including the maximum scale in scale ranges map property is unchecked. In the Contents pane, right-click a map and click Properties to open the Map Properties dialog box. Click the General tab to inspect this property. It is unchecked by default on new maps but checked on for map documents imported from ArcGIS Desktop. This is especially important if you intend to create vector tiles from the map.

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