Work with group layers

You can group layers to help organize the content in maps or scenes. The layers in a group layer can be of the same type or of many different types. For example, a raster layer and feature layer can exist side by side in a group layer. In maps with hundreds of layers representing different types of data, grouping layers makes data sensible and easy to use, especially when sharing maps and projects.

Group layers control drawing options for all the layers in the group. For example, if you turn off the visibility of the group layer, it turns off the visibility of all its sublayers.

To determine whether a layer is a group layer, expand its name in the Contents pane. When expanded, its contents (if any) are indented to the right.

Some geoprocessing tools create group layers as output. When setting parameters in tools, the name of the group layer precedes the name of its sublayer, as follows: Group layer name \ Sublayer name .

Create a group layer

Group layers are created in the Contents pane of a map or scene.

  1. Right-click the name of the map or scene in the Contents pane and click New Group Layer New Group Layer.
  2. To rename a group layer, right-click the layer name and click Properties. On the Layer Properties dialog box, on the General tab, type a new name in the Name text box.

    You can also double-click a group layer in the Contents pane to rename it.

  3. Drag any layers into the group layer to include them in the group.

    If the group layer is not expanded, you can pause the pointer over the group layer. A box surrounding the layer's name appears, indicating that the layer will be added to the group layer.

Alternatively, you can right-click a selection of layers and choose Group Group layer to make the selection into a new group layer.

Layers in a group layer can be in any order, but the drawing order still applies. Layers can be added or removed at any time. To ungroup a group layer, right-click the layer in the Contents pane and click Ungroup.

Set group layer properties

Layers that are in a group layer maintain most of their original properties. However, any properties set on the group layer override its sublayers. Those properties are outlined below.

To manage the contents of a group layer, complete the following steps:

  1. In the Contents pane, click a group layer to highlight it.
  2. Under Layer, on the Appearance tab, set the properties:

Share group layers

You can right-click a group layer and choose to share it as a layer package to an online organization. For more information, see Share a layer package. Alternatively, you can create a layer file.

It is not possible to share a group layer as a web feature layer. See 24035: Layer type is not supported for web feature layer for more information.