Creating fill symbols

Fill symbols are used to draw polygonal features such as countries, provinces, land-use areas, habitats, parcels, and footprints. Fills can be drawn with a solid single color; a smooth gradient transition between two or more colors; or a pattern of lines, markers, or pictures. Fills are also used to draw graphic shapes and backgrounds, data frames, map elements, graphics, and text. Any number of layers of any fill type can be combined in a single fill symbol. For example, a marker fill layer may be drawn above a solid fill layer to create an opaque symbol.

Fill symbol types

There are five standard fill types:

Improving fill symbol drawing performance

To maximize drawing speed, use simple line symbols for polygon outlines wherever possible. Only use cartographic line symbols for fill outlines if you need the enhanced properties they provide. For picture fill symbols, .emf pictures will draw faster than .bmp pictures.

Beginning with ArcGIS 9.2, fill symbols with outlines in the ESRI style and a number of other styles use simple line symbols instead of cartographic line symbols for their outlines. This yields a drawing performance improvement when working with polygon data of up to 65 percent in many cases, with an average improvement of almost 25 percent. Map documents and layer files constructed with symbols from these styles prior to ArcGIS 9.2 will still use the old symbols. You may want to update the symbols in these maps if drawing performance is an issue.

Related Topics

Published 6/7/2010