Creating fill symbols
Fill symbols are used to draw polygonal features such as countries, provinces, land-use areas, habitats, parcels, and footprints. Fills can be drawn with a single solid color; a smooth gradient transition between two or more colors; or a pattern of lines, markers, or pictures. Fills are also used to draw graphic shapes and backgrounds, data frames, map elements, graphics, and text. Any number of layers of any fill type can be combined in a single fill symbol. For example, a marker fill layer may be drawn above a solid fill layer to create an opaque symbol.
Fill symbol types
There are five standard fill types:
- Simple—Fast-drawing, solid fill with an optional outline
- Gradient—Continuous fill of linear, rectangular, circular, or buffered color rampsNote:
In addition to setting the style of the gradient, you can further adjust the appearance with the Intervals, Percentage, and Angle controls. The number of intervals used determines how smoothly or abruptly the colors will change across the color ramp. The percentage controls where within the feature geometry the ramp will be applied. For example, setting the percentage to 50 with a linear gradient style will result in polygons filled with a solid color (one end of the color ramp) for 50% of their extent, and the other 50% will show the blended ramp. The angle determines the orientation of linear and rectangular style gradients.Note:There are four types of color ramps:
- Algorithmic—Linear stretch between two specified end colors designed to convey the amount or degree of a quantitative distribution such as average income.
- Random—Alternating bands of random colors designed to display continuous qualitative values.
- Multipart—Combines other color ramp elements in a continuous band. An example is a color ramp designed to convey an entity with a zero point, such as population growth or temperature.
- Preset—A ramp of individually specified colors. An example is a color ramp intended to convey elevation.
See Working with color ramps for more information.
- Line—Pattern of evenly spaced parallel hatched lines at variable angles and separations
- Marker—Random or evenly spaced pattern of repeating marker symbols
- Picture—Continuous tiling of a PNG (*.png), JPEG (*.jpg, *.jpeg), GIF (*.gif), Windows bitmap (.bmp), or Windows enhanced metafile (.emf) graphicTip:
Pictures sourced from .bmp, .png, .gif, and .jpg/.jpeg are raster images; an .emf picture is a vector graphic. You can scale both types of pictures, but be aware that a raster image that is scaled too large can look jagged, rough, or blurry. If it is scaled too small, it can lose detail. Conversely, .emf vectors scale proportionately.Dive-in:
You can modify both foreground and background colors on 1-bit .bmp pictures, but you can modify only the background color on multibyte .bmp and .emf pictures. Swapping the color properties of a 1-bit .bmp image toggles which color can be modified with the basic property controls on the Symbol Selector dialog box. Only the foreground color can be modified. To create a transparent picture fill, set background color or foreground color to No color.
Improving fill symbol drawing performance
To maximize drawing speed, use simple line symbols for polygon outlines wherever possible. Only use cartographic line symbols for fill outlines if you need the enhanced properties they provide. For picture fill symbols, .emf pictures will draw faster than .png, .jpg/.jpeg, and .bmp pictures.