I've been searching for a way to include the label symbology within the legend, something similar to the image below: (Apologies for the quality)

There was a post some 4 years back that touched on the subject within Arcmap 9. Hoping someone has found a way to create this since then.

Anyone have a workaround to create something like this? Other than creating a text box for each layer?

  • Create a 'fake' map, export to image then include the image... without any better solution that's the old method I've been using for years. It wouldn't hurt to check out ArcScripts just in case. Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 3:43

2 Answers 2


It is possible with a long workaround. But certainly worth it if you need to reuse.

Create a dummy layer with the same data you want to show in legend. If you have a layer 'Roads' copy it and we will tweak the copy to make the legend. I often call layers like 'Roads - dummy for legend'. This layer will be turned off when done, be sure to uncheck 'Only display layers that are checked on in the Table of Contents' when making/editing the legend so it still shows up in the legend.

Create a new character symbol using letters and save to your styles. You have to be a bit creative, see the blue blocks as the background to my label here. And you have to do each letter separately. You basically need to recreate your label in this funky little editor.

Create a label masquerading as a character marker symbol.

With your line symbolized as the line should look, go into Properties and the symbol property editor. Copy the line and paste so it looks like there are two lines.

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Click on the top line symbol, change the Type to Marker Line Symbol and click on the Marker Line tab.

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Click on Symbol and go select the Marker Symbol you created earlier. When it first comes in it may look weird. It is. It needs to have the Template tweaked.

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Go to Template and stretch the 2nd gray box to the end of the template area. Then change the interval until it looks like your symbol (label) looks clean and singular. Try 60. I don't know how much it really matters.

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Hit Line Properties and offset positive so it looks good to you. I used 8. Voila.

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This is not possible to to achieve "dynamically" out-of-the-box. You will have to convert your legend to graphics, un-group and arrange the items as you want them then create a text element for each of the labels you wish to also include in the legend, physically type in the values and apply the same symbology as the label has and move it place.

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