Layer transparency

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02-03-2015 02:14 PM
MichaelMannion
New Contributor III

Howdy,

I am attempting to create a simple map that has two layers: polygons with graduated colors, over an imagery basemap. I would like the polygons to be 50% transparent. This is easy to do when using a single symbol, but when using graduated colors, the only way I've found to set the transparency is to edit each symbol individually.

I know I can set the polygon "Outline color" and "Outline width" properties for all symbols at the same time (Symbology > Class breaks > More > Symbols > Format all symbols). The transparency, however, is set as part of the "Color" property. When I edit the Color in order to choose a transparency value, ArcGIS Pro overwrites the original color ramp with same symbol (i.e. same color, same transparency).

My question is:

  • Is there a way in ArcGIS Pro to set transparency at the layer level, like we can with the Effects toolbar in ArcMap?

If not, I'd appreciate any tips on quicker ways to set the transparency for a layer with graduated colors. The method I'm using now requires 7 clicks/keystrokes for each symbol. I'm using 10 class breaks, which makes for a lot of clicks.

On the positive side, ArcGIS Pro shows overlapping areas of transparent polygons as darker, whereas ArcMap only shows a flattened view where the top polygon prevails. Maybe this has something to do with my graphics card or the default settings for the respective apps. Either way, I like the way that ArcGIS Pro behaves out-of-the-box in this respect, so kudos to whoever implemented that feature.

Thank you!

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1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
JeremyWright
Esri Regular Contributor

Answer: select the layer in the TOC. Go to the APPEARANCE contextual tab.  Change transparency.

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4 Replies
JeremyWright
Esri Regular Contributor

Answer: select the layer in the TOC. Go to the APPEARANCE contextual tab.  Change transparency.

MichaelMannion
New Contributor III

Thank you for your prompt reply, Jeremy. After 8 years of working with the ribbon-style interface, I still don't think to look for contextual tabs. This'll be a good lesson for me, and help me remember to look up.

I noticed that changing transparency at the layer level yields the same behavior that I described above for ArcMap - specifically, that the top poylgon in areas of overlap obscures the lower polygon(s), rather than showing overlapping areas more darkly. I don't know if the difference in layer transparency and symbol transparency behavior is intentional or incidental, but if it's the latter, it would be a nice enhancement to have the symbol-style overlap behavior when setting layer-level transparency. In this case, we'll ultimately solve that problem by loading the source data into a geodatabase and setting up a topology. For the initial exploration of our shapefile data, though, it would be handy to see the overlaps visually.

Thanks, again!

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DavidWatkins
Esri Contributor

In ArcGIS Pro you can also set transparency at the color level.  So, you could potentially give the polygon's different colors and set transparency for them separately. To change the transparency on a color go to the Color Swatch and select "More Colors..." at the bottom.  Then in the Color Editor you can set transparency.  I believe this will give you the effect you want. 

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ChelseaRozek
MVP Regular Contributor

Doesn't seem like this is solved. The layer transparency doesn't = the fill transparency. I'm running into the same issue. I want only the fill to be transparent, not the whole layer. I have 18 unique values, and to go into each color's color menu individually and set the transparency slider bar is a lot of clicks. There should be a way to do this in bulk with the format all symbols button without overwriting everything with the one color as Michael describes.

Please upvote my idea: Add Transparency Option to Format All Symbols - Esri Community