Single symbol

Single symbol symbology applies the same symbol to all features in a layer. This symbology is used for drawing a layer with only one category, such as county boundaries.

Map of the southwestern United States using single symbol symbology to represent locations of active fires
This wildfire potential map of the southwestern United States uses single symbol symbology to represent locations of active fires.

To draw a feature layer with single symbol symbology, follow these steps:

  1. Select a feature layer in the Contents pane.
  2. On the Feature Layer tab, in the Drawing group, click Symbology and click Single Symbol.

    The Symbology pane appears.

  3. On the Primary symbology tab Primary symbology, enter text for the Label and Description fields. The label is used in the Contents pane. Both the label and the description appear in legends on a layout.
  4. Click the symbol to open the Format Symbol pane, where you can modify the symbol or choose a different one. Select a symbol style from the Gallery, or click the Properties tab to customize the current symbol. Click Apply when you are finished. Click the back button Back to return to the Symbology pane.
  5. If you are working with line or polygon feature layers, click the Update legend patch shape drop-down arrow next to the symbol to select a legend patch. A menu of defined patch shapes appears. Click a patch from the list to change the patch shape in the Contents pane and in legends in layouts.

Vary single symbol symbology by transparency, rotation, size, or color

You can add variation to the symbols by varying the transparency, rotation, size, and color of the symbols with attribute values. While all of these treatments can be applied simultaneously, be aware that too many visual variations make the layer more difficult to interpret. It is advisable to apply secondary symbology sparingly.

Learn more about symbolization concepts

  1. On the Symbology pane, click the Vary symbology by attribute tab Vary symbology by attribute.
  2. Expand the Transparency, Rotation, Color, or Size heading. In the case of polygon features, Outline width replaces Size and Rotation is not available.

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