Changing a layer's drawing order
The order in which layers are listed in the table of contents determines how layers are drawn on a map. Within a data frame, the layers listed at the top of the Display tab will draw over those listed below them, and so on, down the list. You can easily move layers around to adjust their drawing order or organize them in separate data frames.
Seeing which layers are drawn under a layer
The Swipe tool on the Effects toolbar is used to interactively reveal layers beneath the layer you chose to swipe. This tool makes it easy to quickly see what is underneath a particular layer without having to turn it off in the table of contents or reorder layers. To use the tool, choose the layer or group layer you want to swipe from the Layer drop-down list on the Effects toolbar, then move the pointer over the map. You'll notice that the pointer changes based on whether you are pausing it at the top, bottom, left, or right of the map. This lets you choose the direction you want to swipe the layer. Hold down the mouse button and drag. This will swipe the layer in the direction you were pausing on. You can also hold down either the CTRL or SHIFT key and the mouse button to swipe without having to drag left/right or up/down.
The Flicker tool on the Effects toolbar automatically flickers the layer chosen in the Layer drop-down list on and off using the time interval specified in milliseconds in the Flicker Rate input box. Click the Flicker button again or pan and zoom the map to stop flickering. Flicker is particularly useful for temporal change detection (especially of satellite images or aerial photographs taken at different times of the same location), data quality comparison, and other analyses where you want to see the difference between layers. Very fast flicker rates can be used to make differences between layers appear to jump out due to the optical effect of the eye being attracted to changes between rapidly alternating displays (an effect also exploited by the early experiments in cinematography).
Both tools only work in data view.
- On the Display tab, drag the layer up or down in the table of contents.
- Release the mouse button to drop the layer in its new position.
A black line indicates where the layer will be placed.
Keep in mind that requiring an annotation layer to always be drawn above other layers will increase draw times and thereby hinder performance.