I'm plotting vector data for different attributes for countries across Europe. I've used symbology to plot categories of countries. However, the data are numbers so are on a continuous scale. I would therefore like to plot the numbers in each country on a continuous colour or shading gradient (the default for raster data), where the number is each country is represented as a point on the scale rather than interval scales. This will make the data much easier to interpret. I cannot find a way to do this in ArcMap 10.

Does anyone know a way that this can be done?

  • Is the continuous data you are using in the form of a raster? When I think of vectors I envision a line feature with an increasing value in one direction. I'm also confused about the categories of countries. Commented Aug 5, 2015 at 15:18

2 Answers 2


There should be some color progression options that can suit your needs for vector data. Look under "categories and then once you have your value field selected, click the "color ramp" and scroll through. Some of the choices are actually color progressions between two colors. If those aren't quite what you are looking for there go down to "quantities" and select "graduated colors". From here you have the ability to pick a field and then the color ramp includes a lot more options for color progression.

  • Yeah but this still requires a classification unless Im mistaken. He wants a ramp without the symbols being discrete Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 11:53

The best way I have found to handle this problem is by using a manually defined interval as my classification type.

From the Symbology tab, choose Quantities -> Graduated Colors, and then select the field you want to base the colors on (e.g. temperature or distance). Click on "Classify..." and in the Classification panel, set the Method to "Defined Interval", and set "Interval Size" to something sufficiently small.

Depending on the range of the values you're plotting and the Interval Size you have chosen, you may end up with a very large number of classes. For example, if you are plotting points with a field of Distance that ranges from 0 to 950 miles, you might try using an Interval Size of 1, which should give you 950 classes. Going with a smaller value like 0.1 would be overkill. I don't think that having such a large number of classes is typically an issue until you try adding the feature to your legend, which will oftentimes lead to overwhelming the legend creation process.

Unfortunately, this might be an imperfect solution, but I hope that it helps.

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