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Can symbology be tied to geodatabase point or other files?

09-29-2017 06:46 AM
New Contributor II

This may be the wrong place to post this, so please redirect me!

I have a large number of geodatabase point files that I would like to link to a symbology layer.  Is this possible?  I can find nothing in any of the write-ups to cover the question.

To be clear, I mean linked in the geodatabase so when ever they are added to a map, the symbology comes with it.

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5 Replies
MVP Emeritus


   You can do that using representations:

What are representations?—Help | ArcGIS Desktop 

Understanding representation overrides—Help | ArcGIS Desktop 

If you do not have the appropriate licensing level then you could use Layer files (not exactly what you are looking for but).

Save To Layer File—Help | ArcGIS Desktop 

MVP Esteemed Contributor

Symbology is a property of Layers, not the Feature Classes.

So if you would like to preserve the symbology of the layers, save it as a layer file. And next time you could just add up the layer file (.lyr).

Note: The layer file stores the path of the Feature Class. If the Feature Class is not available in the stored path, the layer won't display any feature.

Think Location
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New Contributor II

Thank you, Representations does in fact work.

Though the directions are unnecessarily hard to find and difficult to follow.  The easy (complete) description is

  1. First create a layer file
  2. In Cataolg, right click on the geodatabase file, select properties
  3. Go to Representations tab/New
    1. Rule ID Field and Override field - rename or not
    2. click import rules from a layer (lyr) file:
      1. use the select to find it
      2. next
      3. finished
New Contributor II

After merrily using this method on quite a number of event files, I discovered it wasn't consistently working.  Nor did it work to delete the representation and reimport the event specific layer file back in.

My symbology combines to fields, and groups them to create my new symbol field.

The help files do not make sense to me with their chosen vernacular.  I know there is a way to do this, but will someone please translate to more a b c language for me?


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New Contributor II

Never mind!  I finally found the "convert Symbology to Representation" -- though it NEVER came up when I searched for it.

Too bad it can't be used on a broader basis but must be file by file.