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Problem: ArcMap layer visibility is turned off but added layers are still visible

Description

Newly added layer files (.lyr) are visible even though the check box for making newly added layers visible is unchecked. In ArcMap this option is under Tools > Options > Application.

Cause

The ArcMap application setting does affect newly added data but not newly added layer files because layer files, by design, have a visibility setting that over-rides the ArcMap application setting.

Solution or Workaround

  1. Open ArcCatalog.
  2. Browse to the layer file on which you wish to change the initial visibility.
  3. Double click on the layer file to open the Layer Properties dialog box.
  4. Select the General tab and uncheck the Visibility (or Visible) check box.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Open ArcMap and add (drag-drop) the layer file in. The layer will not be visible.