Ask A Cartographer

Symbolize Polygons By Unique Outline Colors but Empty Fill

February 25 2010 | 3 comments
Categories: Symbology

Can I symbolize my polygon layer by unique values but using a ramp of unique 'Outline Colors' but with no fill color? Using filled values and playing with the transparancey setting doesn't work in this case. I need the fill color to be 'empty'.

Mapping Center Answer:

As you note, you CAN vary the interior of the polygon (the fill) usign a color ramp but you cannot vary the outlines.  However, there are a couple of workarounds.

You can create multiple layers so that each layer contains the features you want to have the same outline color.  If you only have 4 or so unique polygon outline colors, then this isn't so bad.  But if you have more, it can get tedious and it become more challenging in terms of layer management.

Another solution is to use tint bands but this will mean that the polygon outlines will actually be drawn slightly inside the outlines.  We wrote a blog entry about this.  Because the features you would be symbolizing are actually polygons, you can then use the color ramps to define the colors of the tint bands.

broken link posted by Michael Norelli on Feb 18 2012 12:50PM
That "blog entry"
link mentioned above should be:
broken link posted by Michael Norelli on Feb 18 2012 12:51PM
yikes... make that:
Fixed now - thanks! posted by Aileen Buckley on Feb 18 2012 12:53PM
Thanks for letting us know -- this is fixed now!

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