using a different category of attribute table to label legend on ArcMap

07-21-2017 02:30 AM
New Contributor


I am working on livelihood zones of three different countries each on a separate shapefile. I have classified the layers according to the livelihood zone class, so that there is a common legend for all three of them. However, on the legend, I would like to label each class with a different field of the attribute table which gives also geographical information and is unique for each layer.

I tried using unique values, many fields, but when I imported the legend of one layer to the other it tried to recognize both the fields of the first layer on the second one, and gave me different colors for the same class.

Could you suggest me a way to get around the issue without having to change each color manually?

I do not know if my problem is clear, if needed I can try to clarify.

Thanks in advance,


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5 Replies
Occasional Contributor III

Hi Susanna,

I am not sure if I understand well,

the class field has common value among the 3 files, but you said that the geographic info are unique for each layer, aren't they?

Meaning that the combination field1+field2 info in table1  are different from table2.

If you symbolize like:

unique value, many fields.

1" file:

Class1, Geo1

Class2, Geo2

2" file: 

Class1, Geo3

Class2, Geo4

The classes are identical, but the Geo field makes you have 4 different symbols.

Am I correct?

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New Contributor


Thank you for your reply. That is exactly what I meant. I would like to create a legend where the symbols refer to the Class field but the labels to the Geo field. Is it possible?


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by Anonymous User
Not applicable

I guess she meant how to apply different attributes at the symbology label, right? I am facing the same problem. 

I want to create a legend which contains classes of attribute A, but labels of attribute B. I am not labling anything, I am working at the symbology panel. Maybe the screenshot below helps. At the label, instead of using the same attribute as for the values, how can I apply a different attribute?

Thanks in advance.


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Occasional Contributor III

The column labeled "Label" in your example can be edited, but that would have to be done for each value. A Python arcpy.mapping tool might be able to automate this.

If you wish to retain the option to use both, you can edit the Description field for each value (right click for each value to choose Edit Description). Then you could choose which field value(s) to display using Legend Properties. A last, ugly, way to do this is with two layers and two legends and turning one of the legends into graphics and placing it on top of the other, but this seems like it would be hard to do in this case.

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