Ask A Cartographer

Why can't I change legend symbol to line symbol?

May 26 2011 | 3 comments
Categories: Map Data, Symbology

I am trying to change a legend symbol to a flowing water line but can't seem to manage it. I have gone into legend items/style/properties and have selected override default but it doesn't work! Weirdly it will change patch shape (e.g. to water body) but not to a line symbol. Help!

Mapping Center Answer:

If your feature is really a polygon then you cannot have the legend display the symbol as a line, unless you simply show the line as the outline of the polygon.  You could convert the polygons to lines and then symbolize those lines in the legend.  If your water features are polygons and you do this, then you will end up with lines on either side of streams.

I am not quite sure what you mean by a "flowing water line", so maybe you could write back and tell us a bit more about what you mean so we can try to help you apply the right symbology.

Line symbols in raster? posted by Sam Page on May 26 2011 10:13AM
Many thanks for your reply.

Perhaps the problem is because my data is in raster? Can you have line symbols in a raster legend? If not, is there any way around it?

Re 'flowing water line': When I go into legend items/style/properties/override default patch, there are 2 boxes - one for line symbols and one for area symbols - one of the options in line symbols is called 'flowing water' and this is what I wanted to use in my legend (for a river).

No line symbology in raster posted by Aileen Buckley on May 26 2011 12:15PM
Raster data only support a color assingnment for each cell value, thus they do not support line symbols. You could of course convert your raster to a polyline feature class -- here is the online help topic for this:
Override default legend patch - Flowing water line posted by Aileen Buckley on May 26 2011 12:32PM
This should work if you have line data as an item in your legend.

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