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Change the appearance of a feature layer

You can adjust the display and appearance of feature layers, including visibility range limits, display effects, symbology, and visualization options for extrusion, face culling, and lighting from the Appearance tab. Select a feature layer in the Contents pane to access the Appearance tab under the Feature Layer tab.

Visibility Range

Use the In Beyond Maximum Scale and Out Beyond Minimum Scale settings to limit the visibility of a layer to be between specific scales. Choose from one of the preset options in the drop-down menu or enter a different scale in the text box. Use the Clear Limits Clear Scale button to remove the visibility settings. See Author a multiscale map for more information.


The Effects options enable you to compare more than one overlapping feature layers.

  • Use the Transparency slider Transparency Slider to reduce the opacity of the selected layer, revealing underlying features.
  • Use the Swipe tool Swipe to interactively hide the selected layer and reveal content hidden beneath it. Once you click the Swipe tool, it becomes the active tool. To deactivate, swipe, click the Map tab, and click the Explore tool Explore Tool or another tool.

  • Click the Flicker button Flicker to blink the selected layer's visibility off and on continuously. The number of milliseconds (thousands of a second) defines the flicker rate. Flicker can be used regardless of the active tool. It stays on until you turn it off, switch to another view, or pick a different layer. Flicker is useful for detecting change in imagery layers, data quality comparison, or other analysis in which you want to see the difference between layers. Flicker is available for feature layers in both maps and scenes but is disabled for 2D layers in a scene.


The Drawing options enable you to control the display of feature layers by adjusting the symbology, masking options, display filters, and import symbology from another layer.

  • Click the Symbology button to choose how the layer is displayed. See Symbolize feature layers to learn more.
  • Click the Masking button to mask the features of the selected layer with those of a different layer in the map. See Use a masking layer to learn more.
  • Click the Display Filters button to construct and enable queries to specify which features of a layer get drawn at which scale ranges. See Display filters to learn more.
  • Click the Import button to copy the symbology settings from another layer to the selected layer. See Apply Symbology From Layer to learn more.


Extrusion is the process of stretching a flat, 2D shape vertically to create a 3D object in a scene. For example, you can extrude building footprint polygons by a height value to create three-dimensional building shapes. Only point, line, and polygon features support extrusion. Once the type of extrusion is selected, the field, or query expression, and unit of measure can be stated. The symbology for all features in the layer will then be increased by the specified amount.

See Extrude features to 3D symbology to learn more.


The 3D group is enabled only when you work with layers in a scene. It includes face culling and lighting properties.

Face culling allows you to see through the front, back, or both faces of 3D objects, depending on which side of the objects you are viewing. Lighting alters shadows by defining how each face will reflect light to help 3D objects appear more realistic. Lighting options are only available for layers whose data source is a multipatch feature class, or a point feature classes using 3D model markers within their symbols.

See 3D effects to learn more.

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