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I have a large polygon dataset and no time to rebuild it to regoranize the Object IDs. Many polygons are drawing above others, blocking their symbol (for example on one side of the polygon). I tried using the 'advanced' symbol level drawing however this resulted in the polygons drawing at a glacial pace. For my clients & users, this is not cool. Is there any way to force the polygons I don't want up front to the bottom, without compromizing drawing speed?

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ArcGIS 10 has a new Sort tool. You can reorder your polygons by Area or on multiple fields. The tool will output a new Feature Class.

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There's something in the help file which solves this:

What is symbol level drawing?

In order to put the polygons in some sort of order you could create a new field in the database and have it hierarchical according to drawing order, then use that to sort.

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She already said the symbol levels did not address the problem, as using it slows refresh too much. – matt wilkie May 8 '12 at 18:26
Wouldn't my ordering them using a field solve that issue? – Emily May 9 '12 at 19:32
I don't know, I've not used sorting and don't have a dataset on hand to test with (for me, the speed of symbol level drawing is ok). It wasn't clear at first that you proposed two alternate approaches. I thought they were one. – matt wilkie May 9 '12 at 21:07

The default mode for symbol level drawing puts each symbol it a separate level and that can slow down drawing. If you really need just one symbol drawn first and the others in any order, use the "Advanced" mode to hand set the symbol levels so that only the one you need to draw first is on a separate level from the others.

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

The issue ended up being a result of a mistake on the set-up in the enterprise environment regarding the spatial ordering of the data. Once that was fixed by the enterprise data admins, the symbol level drawing worked and loaded quickly!

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