I use marker fill symbols in my legend in ArcView 10, in order to identify different habitats, and frequently have to increase the separation of the symbols in order to make the map more readable. However, increasing the separation causes the legend to sometimes not include the marker symbol (ie it falls off the edge of the legend patch - see attached where "SI" is only partially visible).

I was wondering if people had come across this problem and new of a solution, I have used the following but find them to be a temporary rather than permanent solution.

(A) Increase the Patch Size - not always possible when there are lots of labels and not much map space.

(B) Use "Symbol Property Editor" -> "Fill Properties" and change the "Offset" x and y values so that the marker symbol appears in the legend.

(C) Use "Convert to Graphics", this does not work because when you move the label the marker disappears and also you lose the interactive functionality of the legend.

(D) Use another type of symbology, but this is problematic because I am following a industry standard palette and no colour scheme would work with the large number of categories that I have.

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2 Answers 2


The only solution we've found to date is one you've already rejected: convert to graphics. (Though I've not experienced the "move label, marker disapeared" problem you mention.) We just sigh, curse a little, suck it up and keep going. On the bright side this allows us to do things not otherwise possible. In this example below any given polygon on the map can have one, two or all three of the line types shown. Collapsing all the possibilities to one legend patch does wonders for conserving real estate, and makes it easier for the map reader to comprehend in the process. It's a gain worth the pain. Thanks go to Gary Stronghill for the design idea.

legend example of nested, stacked line types

map detail

map detail


This is a workaround only. Use a copy of your layer that is set not to display in the map but to show in the legend, and then change the spacing/offsets of the markers in it so they display properly in the legend.

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