I've been asked to replicate a map where the selected polygon is shown with a red tick/check mark:

enter image description here

I need to tell ArcMap to use this symbol when a polygon is selected, so that un-selecting the polygon removes the check mark, and selecting a new polygon shows the check mark for that polygon. I don't want to edit a point layer and move the point around, which would be a manual workaround.

I tried setting the layer's selection symbol...

enter image description here

... but the only options here assume that the marker/image should be distributed multiple times throughout the selected polygon:

enter image description here

Is it possible to show a single marker within a selected polygon? I suspect this will require ArcObjects coding (which is probably out of the picture for this) but someone may know of a workaround.

  • 1
    Not that I know of using existing interfaces. Perhaps increase the separation between the ticks, but not too much or you run the risk of not having a tick appear at all. Not difficult to do in ArcObjects as you said. This would possibly work arcscripts.esri.com/details.asp?dbid=12131 Jun 17, 2014 at 4:22
  • Check out gis.stackexchange.com/questions/71903/… - but I rue that POLYGONMARKERS did not survive the transition to Desktop.
    – PolyGeo
    Jun 17, 2014 at 4:54
  • @PolyGeo good idea - but Graduated Symbols aren't available in the Selection Symbol dialog Jun 17, 2014 at 5:04
  • If it's a critical requirement maybe you could pass the OIDs from your selected set to a copy of your layer which has a definition query set (or written by ArcPy) that represents just the selected polygons.
    – PolyGeo
    Jun 17, 2014 at 5:37
  • 1
    Not that it would be easy, but you might: 1. use a label instead of a symbol, the label being a check mark, 2. set it up so only the selected feature is labeled (see forums.arcgis.com/threads/52723-Label-Selected-Features) and 3. used a Find label expression that only included a special character like ESRI Marker Symbol unicode 105.
    – John
    Jun 17, 2014 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


As I don't know ArcObjects I would write a Python add-in (button tool on a toolbar) that would execute the following summarized pseudocode (not tested and can certainly be improved). Not as straightforward as clicking a hidden magic check box is the Select options, but possible...

  1. when you click the add-in button (use onClick function): create an in memory layer of centroids of the polygon features, apply it the wanted symbology (your check mark symbol) and set its definition query so that no centroid is visible
  2. when a polygon is clicked (using the onMouseDownMap and onMouseUpMap functions):
    • select the intersecting polygon feature (check first if any feature intersects the location clicked). The selection color must also be set to transparent before you run the add-in.
    • get the selected polygon's OID or any other relevant attribute and use it to change the definition query of the centroid layer, so that only the corresponding centroid is visible.
  • This is a good suggestion. I likewise haven't tried it (this issue is relatively minor and not worth the effort) but this approach looks best. Thanks Jun 17, 2014 at 22:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.