Set layer properties

You control all aspects of a layer through the layer's properties. There are two places where you can access and update properties for layers: the ribbon and the Layer Properties dialog box. The properties you can set will be different for different types of geographic data or if you are designing a map for 2D or 3D. For example, when designing a 3D map, you define additional properties, such as elevation of the layer from the surface.

Most display properties, such as symbology and transparency, are set on the ribbon. To change these settings, select a layer in the Contents pane and use the contextual tabs on the ribbon.

Additional properties are available through the Layer Properties dialog box. The tabs on this dialog box are specific to the type of layer. For example, here are some of the properties for feature layers that you can set using the Layer Properties dialog box:

  • General—Allows you to record a layer name and visibility range. You can also specify that a layer should be refreshed periodically. A periodic refresh rate cannot be applied for layers that are time aware.
  • Metadata—By default, the layer references the source's metadata. Referenced metadata is read-only. Alternatively, layers can have their own metadata independent of the metadata on their source feature class. Choose Layer has its own metadata from the drop-down menu on this tab to activate and update the layer's metadata fields. Optionally click Copy data source's metadata to this layer Copy to populate the metadata fields with the metadata from the source as a starting point and then edit the fields as necessary. Be aware that if you have made edits to the layer's metadata already, copying the source's metadata will overwrite these fields.

    You can also view and edit the layer's metadata from a catalog view. In the Contents pane, right-click a layer and click View Metadata View Metadata or Edit Metadata Edit Metadata.

  • Source—Allows you to view the extent of your data. You can view and change the source of your data from this tab. If you change the source, you must choose the same data type as the original dataset. If the new field schema is not the same as in the original, symbology may be affected.
  • Elevation—Allows you to specify whether features display on the ground, relative to the ground (for 3D layers only), or at an absolute height. When they are relative to the ground or at an absolute height, you can write an expression to specify the height, in VBScript or in the Arcade language.
  • Selection—Allows you to set how features in a specific layer are highlighted when they are selected.
  • Display—Allows you to specify how maps and scenes draw. Specifically, you can specify the following settings.
    • Set a display field, or write a display expression in the Arcade language.
    • Turn off symbol scaling when a reference scale is set on a 2D map.
    • Show 3D symbols in real-world units to display symbols at a constant measurable size relative to the scene independent of view distance, or display symbols at a constant size relative to the screen.
    • In 3D, compress textures to improve performance. Turn off texture compression if you are seeing unwanted artifacts in the display.
    • Optimize the performance of partially transparent symbols in 3D. In situations where partial transparency is used in 3D symbols, checking this option improves draw performance, possibly at the cost of draw quality.
    • Draw symbols with full alpha blending. Alpha blending can improve the appearance of some 3D symbols when they have partially transparent components. 3D model marker symbols that have been properly constructed will not require this setting. If you see a halo of pixels around 3D symbols, check this option on.
  • Cache—The cache is a local copy of the layer used to improve performance. Each layer in a map or scene can have an independent caching setting. Group layers do not have caching options. See How caching works for more information about caches. There are four caching options.
    • Keep the cache between sessions and only clear it when the data is updated. With this option, the cache is preserved between sessions as long as the data remains consistent. It becomes invalidated when data is updated.
    • Keep the cache between sessions, but clear the cache automatically based on a time limit you specify. Use this option if you know that your data is always updated after a specific time interval.
    • Clear the cache at the end of each session. Every time you close ArcGIS Pro, the cache will be invalidated.
    • Never cache any data locally. Use this option if you have highly dynamic data that changes constantly.

    You can delete the current cache for the layer immediately by clicking Clear Cache Now. You can invalidate the cache for all layers at any time by pressing CTRL+F5. This will redraw all the layers.

  • Definition Query—Allows you to specify that a subset of your features will be used in the layer.

Most properties have only one location where you set them on the user interface and are not duplicated on both the ribbon and the Layer Properties dialog box.

  1. To set the properties that are available on the ribbon, click the layer in the Contents pane. Any settings you change are reflected immediately on the layer.
  2. To open the Layer Properties dialog box, right-click the layer in the Contents pane and click Properties, or double-click the layer name. Click the tab containing the properties you want to modify, make your changes, and click OK when you are finished.

Related topics