Create a buffer and assign symbology on features in ArcMap

Last Published: April 25, 2020


Users can assign different symbology for buffers. Different symbology features, such as color, help distinguish distances around features like points and lines in ArcMap. The instructions provided in Procedure A describe how to create a buffer on the desired features, and Procedure B describes how to assign symbology to the buffer.


A. Create a buffer on the desired feature
1. On the main menu, click the Geoprocessing drop-down arrow.
2. Select Buffer. This opens the Buffer dialog box.
3. In the Buffer dialog, set the values for the following fields:

• Input Features
• Output Feature Class
• Distance
4. Click OK.

Assign unique values to each buffer:
5. Navigate to the Editor toolbar and select the Edit menu to begin an edit session.
6. Select the Attributes tool to show attributes for the buffers.
7. Click the Select Features tool on the toolbar, and select the desired buffer to view the attributes.

Each buffer has different unique values. In this example, the unique value for each buffer is 'Center_Names'.


B. Set symbology for the buffer
1. Select the desired buffer. For example, the Westgate Shopping Ctr. is chosen.

2. In the Attributes window, right-click the desired buffer and select Layer Properties.
3. In the Layer Properties dialog box, click the Symbology tab.
4. On the left pane of the Symbology tab in the dialog, click Categories and select Unique Values.
5. Click the Value Field drop-down and select the unique field (use 'Center_Name') of the desired buffer to set symbolization.
6. Click the Add Values button.
7. In the Add Values dialog box, select the desired 'Center_Name' to be assigned with a different color.
8. If the values cannot be found, type the values manually.

The values are case sensitive.

9. Click OK.

10. Right-click the symbology created above, and select 'Properties for Selected Symbol(s)' to open the Symbol Selector dialog.
11. Select the desired color for the buffer, and click OK.

12. Click the Editor menu on the Editor toolbar, and select Save Edits.
13. Click the Editor menu again, and select Stop Editing to end the editing session.

Article ID:000012184

  • ArcMap

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