Table of Contents:

The table of contents in ArcMap serves as a layers palette for toggling on and off particular datasets. This is also where you will select and manipulate data that is imported into your project. The simplest form of manipulating this data is to click and drag the layers up and down in the layer stack. Data at the top of the stack will appear on top of all other data in the scene.

Table of Contents or “Layers” panel:

table of contents


Attribute Tables:

Many of the shapefiles imported into GIS will contain layers of data embedded within each polygon. Each shape might contain an object id, square footage, and a variety of characteristics that define that particular polygon. This information will be vital for intentionally displaying certain features when developing maps and analyzing data. To view the contents within a data file, right+click on the layer in the table of contents and select attribute table.

Open Attribute Table:

opn attribute table

Attribute Table View:

attribute table



There are a plethora of ways to manipulate the various forms of vector data. Points, lines, and polygons can be expressed with a variety of symbols, line weights, color and opacities. This can be adjusted by simply clicking on the symbol associated with each layer shown in the table of contents.

More nuanced methods of displaying data can be accessed by right+clicking on individual layers and selecting the properties menu. From the layer properties menu, the symbology tab will allow you to display data within certain categories with each unique value in the selected field having its own display options. These fields correlate with the attribute table mentioned earlier and an example could be a map of the unique soil types found on a geology shapefile from a state agency.

The Labels tabs will allow you to label certain features within the drawing, whether that is roadway names from a line intensive shapefile or county names on the polygons or a municipal boundary shapefile.

Symbology Adjustment Dialog:

symbology adjustments

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