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Hwy / Roads symbols and scale change

October 17 2009 | 1 comment
Categories: Labeling, Map Data, Maplex, Symbology

I would like to know if there is a technique I can use so that roads and highway symbols can adjust to the scale change. Everytime I zoom in to a smaller scale, the symbols appear too big for the roads.


Mapping Center Answer:

You have a couple of options to achieve the effect you are looking for:

1. Create Group Layers for each scale level that you are designing for -- in essence, each scale level will be an individual map.  You can set the visible scale range of the Group Layer in the group layer's Properties > General tab.  If you have a group layer for each of the scale levels that you are designing for, you can control the symbol sizes/labels individually.  For your highway shields, you can assign one size at the regional scale, another size for the medium scale, and another size for the largest, more local scale -- all of this can be done using Label Manager.  For your road symbology, you can increase or decrease the line width of the roads feature class within the given scale ranges Group Layer.

2.  If you don't want to use Group Layers, you can still use Label Manager (either the standard or Maplex labeling engine) to control when labels turn on/off through scale.  In Label Manager you have the option to set a visible scale range for labels.  In this case, you would create multiple label classes and set the scale range for each label class to show within a defined range of scales.



Reference Scale posted by Mamata Akella on Oct 20 2009 5:00PM
An easy fix might simply be to set the reference scale for your map. With a reference scale set, as you move through scale in your map document, the labels and symbols will change scale with your display.

To do this, right click on your data frame and highlight Reference Scale, then choose "Set Reference Scale".

To learn more about reference scales, visit:

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