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 on the Feature Layer tab on the ribbon. Select a feature layer in the Contents pane to access the Feature Layer tab.

Visibility range

Setting visibility range values defines the largest and smallest scale at which you can view the feature layer in a map or scene. Use the following controls in the Visibility Range group under Feature Layer on the ribbon when a layer is selected in the Contents pane:

  • Maximum scale Maximum scale and Minimum scale Minimum scale—Limit the visibility of a layer to be between specific scales. Choose one of the preset options in the drop-down menu or type a scale in the text box.
  • Scale Range Scale Range button—Turn the scale range limit on and off without having to reset the range values. When the scale range is off, the layer draws at all scales. When the scale range is on, it draws only within the maximum and minimum scale limits.
See Author a multiscale map for more information.


The Effects tools change the visual appearance of a symbolized feature layer. For more information about these tools, see Apply transparency and blending modes. Choose one of the following tools:

  • Transparency slider Transparency—Increase the transparency of the selected layer, revealing underlying features.
  • Layer Blend modes—Visually blend the feature layer with the layers beneath it in the drawing order.
  • Feature Blend modes—Visually blend the features in the feature layer with each other, for example, to change the properties of overlapping features.


Use the following Compare options to compare overlapping feature layers.

  • Swipe tool Swipe—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.

  • Flicker button Flicker—Turn the selected layer's visibility off and on continuously. The number of milliseconds (thousandths of a second) defines the flicker rate. You can use flicker regardless of the active tool. It stays on until you turn it off, switch to another view, or select 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 maps and scenes but is unavailable for 2D layers in a scene.


The following Drawing options allow you to control the display of feature layers. You can adjust the symbology, access masking options, use display filters, and import symbology from another layer.

  • Symbology—Choose how the layer is displayed. See Symbolize feature layers to learn more.
  • Masking—Mask the features of the selected layer with those of a different layer in the map. See Mask features to learn more.
  • Display Filters—Construct and enable queries to specify which features of a layer are drawn at which scale ranges. See Use display filters to learn more.
  • Import—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 3D 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 be increased by the specified amount.

See Extrude features to 3D symbology to learn more.


The Faces 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 reflects light to help 3D objects appear more realistic. Lighting options are only available for layers whose data source is a multipatch feature class or point feature classes using 3D model marker symbol layers in their symbols.

See 3D effects to learn more.

Lighting and Shading

Lighting and Shading allows you to make layers draw more realistically by adding depth perception. The Lighting and Shading group is only enabled in a scene view. Enable Lighting is on by default when a layer is added. For LAS datasets and point cloud scene layers, Eye-Dome Lighting is on by default when the layer is added to a 3D scene. For more information, see 3D effects.

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