Is there a way to make the interior of selected polygons partially transparent as there is with polygons of a layer?

  • Can you clarify? I am assuming you want the selected polygons to become transparent when selected, while the un-selected features remain opaque? – cl3 Feb 16 '16 at 17:45
  • Actually, I would like the selected polygon to have a fill color which is partially transparent, with a different outline color, so I can view a layer beneath selected polygons. I would like unselected polygons to have an outline with no fill (which I currently have). – Derek Feb 16 '16 at 18:08
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    I do not think it is possible with the layer property dialog options in the Selection tab. The Display tab transparency has no effect on the Selection tab colors and there is no transparency setting within the Selection tab. – Richard Fairhurst Feb 16 '16 at 18:18
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    @RichardFairhurst You should submit that as an answer, because as far as I know you're right and this is impossible. – Dan C Feb 16 '16 at 18:42
  • what about using a Hatch symbol? You can see the hatch and see thru the feature to another layer. – klewis Feb 16 '16 at 18:54

This could quickly be accomplished by having two layers in your MXD, one with the selection (with transparency applied) and one without your selection. In the layer properties>display tab, there is a transparency setting you can manipulate to give you a transparency effect on your selected features.

In the example I proposed, you would have two layers in the TOC that point to the same feature class with different transparency settings.

Layer 1 Copy - Contains only features you wish to display w/transparency. Set transparency level (e.g. 40%).

Layer 1 - Contains all features except those you wish to make transparent.

You'd want to use a definition query in each layer to query out the desired features. This is kind of a workaround solution, though it is one that I myself have used to achieve this result.

More info here.

enter image description here

  • I'm sorry, Jyler. Could you clarify as to how this would make the interior of selected polygons partially (and not totally) transparent? Currently I can only make the interior of a selected polygon either transparent or opaque. – Derek Feb 16 '16 at 18:21
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    @Derek I Modified the original answer. See above. Also, you may want to check out this GIS.SE question for more detail. – Jyler Feb 16 '16 at 19:24
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    I've done it this way too. To make it less of a work around, you can write a python script to change the layer definitions when the user selects a polygon and clicks the tool. – RHB Feb 17 '16 at 0:09

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