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Get descriptions automatically via combobox "Description Field"

10-05-2012 01:15 AM
Status: Open
Labels (1)
New Contributor II

[EDIT: Originally submitted for ArcMap, but still applicable in ArcGIS Pro. Removed ArcMap from the idea's title. If you are interested in seeing this functionality in ArcGIS Pro, please continue to add your kudos to this idea.]

ArcMap should provide the possibility to get descriptions for legend items from an attribute table automatically. This should be realize by using a separate "description field" combo-box (see figure) in the symbology dialog. With the combobox a user can choose one attribute field for item descriptions. There is a 1:1 relationship between value field and description field in an attribute table. Therefore every legend item gets its own description for map legend visualization. The description field combo box should be optional.

It should be a simple function which reduce copy/paste errors. Furthermore it helps to restore descriptions very fast after using the "Unique values", "Unique Values, many fields" or "Match to symbols in a style" function within a correction loop.


This functionality is available when your data is set up in a geodatabase with attribute domains.
@ comcarto: You are wrong. With domains you can fill the label field.
But if you need a label and a description in the legend this tool would be fine.
You read my minds.. I allways have to create bilingual Maps (and Legends) - his would be very helpful !!!!
This is not available currently. The description field is quite different than the label field in a legend.

This is similar to a 1/17/2012 idea and should be combined.
Having just spent 2 hours trying (and failing) to find a way to link the legend description to an attribute field, this would be extremely useful. My map has a lot of items in the legend, and the descriptions are detailed. Having to type or copy/paste information which is already stored in the table into the description box is time-consuming and annoying.

I'd love to see this functionality it Pro! Specifically, there are times when I symbolize by three fields but I want to use the Description (so I can format the legend better) and I only want to use one of the fields in the feature class as the "label" (or, in this case, Description) of the legend. It'd be great if I could choose what field to use instead of copying and pasting the Label and backing out the parts I don't want.


The label description tool from GI Geoinformatik should help you.

But it is made for ArcGIS Desktop.

Von: Rosemary Fasselin <>

Gesendet: Donnerstag, 16. Januar 2020 20:30

An: Wilhelm, Mario (LfU) <>

Betreff: Re: - ArcMap Legend - Get descriptions automatically via combobox "Description Field"

GeoNet, The Esri Community | GIS and Geospatial Professional Community <>

ArcMap Legend - Get descriptions automatically via combobox "Description Field"

new comment by Rosemary Fasselin<> View all comments on this idea<>


Thanks so much; I'll take a look at this tool! Even if it's just for ArcMap, I can save the symbology and use it in Pro. Thanks again.


Unfortunately, I'm having trouble locating this tool. I went to the website but there is no mention of the tool. Do you have any more information?


Yes! ESRI adding functionality to the description portion of the legend would greatly facilitate complex legends. We need to be able to dynamically update very large (>50 char) descriptions in the legend for > 50 unique values in a given attribute field. We use a specific style for symbology, and they don't seem to work with legend descriptions. Updating desciptions by hand in the project is both annoyingly slow and prone to error.  Maybe connect unique values in the label field via some kind of table and join? Adding descriptions to the style file? If this ability already exists, it's very difficult to find in the documentation.