I have a feature class with a polygon for each state. In the table there is a field attributed for specific groupings. I plan to symbolize by group.

Here's my question:

Can I make the symbology appear as if the states are merged by group without actually merging the several states into one?

The first image below shows how I would like the layer to look. Notice the continuous outline around several states. The image below that is how it looks now.

enter image description here


You can do this with symbol level drawing in ArcMap by carefully managing the symbol style (use a multi-layer symbol) and the symbol level drawing's Join & Merge settings (Layer Properties>Symbology>Advanced>Symbol Levels...>Turn on "Draw this layer using the symbol levels specified below" and adjust settings appropriately).

ESRI has a whole help page dedicated to an example very close to what it sounds like you are trying to do: http://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/latest/map/working-with-layers/dissolving-polygon-boundaries-using-symbol-level-drawing.htm

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