Ability to Separate Transparency for Fill vs. Outline

11-04-2021 11:42 AM
Status: Already Offered
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Occasional Contributor II

When symbolizing, I often want to set a transparency to the fill but not the outline (want outline to remain solid).  As of now, setting a transparency affects both the outline and fill.  The only workaround I know of is to copy/paste the layer then symbolize iteration 1 for the fill and iteration 2 for the outline.  This seems inefficient and can cause an unnecessary buildup of layers within the map.

Status changed to: Already Offered

Hi @ChristopherBowering This can be controlled for the fill through the symbol's color properties.



Go to color properties:


Set the desired transparency:





The outline transparency can be controlled in the same fashion.

Hope this helps!



On the symbology pane, select Properties then the Layers button which will allow you to symbolize the outline and fill separately.




Thanks for such quick responses!  I had always used the transparency option under the Appearance ribbon so this is great information.


Awesome.  Glad to help, and thank you @CarlMorrison for jumping in as well!!!


You can currently do what you described. To do so, leave the transparency set to 0% via the Feature Layer>Appearance tab. Then, you can set different transparency levels to the fill/outline symbol.

1) Bring up the symbol properties for the symbol you want to apply transparency to. Then click the color swatch and choose Color Properties...



2) Set the Transparency level to whatever you need.



3) Then go back and click the Outline Color, Color Properties...



4) You can then set the transparency of the outline symbol to whatever you want. In the case you described above, you would just leave the transparency set to 0%.



So, if you need to set different transparencies for the fill versus the outline, the key thing to remember is to leave the transparency of the layer at 0%, and then alter the transparency of the symbol itself (fill versus outline).




I published a video showing how this can be accomplished with a single layer:




I'm wondering if there is a way to do this for all of the features in a layer in one shot. Like if you have 40 polygons and want the fill and outline to be the same color for each feature, but where you want the fill to be transparent and the outline to be opaque.  Sure you could do that where you change the transparency of the fill for each feature, but that is not efficient if you have a lot of features. You can also apply a color ramp to both the fill and outline in the symbology pane, duplicate the layer, remove the fill for all symbols in the topmost layer, and then tweak the layer transparency for each of the two layers accordingly. You end up something like the screen grab below (which needs tweaking), where the internal division colors match the general polygon color so you can see they are subsets of the broader area. For example, showing state house of rep boundaries within larger senate districts. This is a solid workaround, but it'd be cool to be able to do this with the layer symbology in one shot, where you can control the fill and outline transparencies independently of each other for all features at once. Hope that makes sense!





@JeremyDavies there is a request for what you're asking for here: https://community.esri.com/t5/arcgis-pro-ideas/add-transparency-option-to-format-all-symbols/idi-p/1... There is a tip in that thread about setting the transparency on the color scheme itself, but it doesn't look like that will solve the problem of setting it separately for the fill and outline.