I'm using ArcGIS 10.3.1 for Desktop (Advanced)

In ArcMap, I'm trying to display points in a certain drawing order based on an attribute, so that the points from a layer with a certain value (text) always appear on top of other points.

I'm symbolizing the points by multiple attributes, assigning colors for one attribute (Yes/No) AND setting symbol size by another attribute (numeric).

Other questions (e.g. ArcGIS - possible to set the drawing order of polygon features) have answers suggesting properties>advanced>symbol levels, but symbol levels doesn't appear under the multiple attributes option. Other answers suggest "sort," but those are for polygons sorting by area, so not sure how that would work here.

Basically I need the "Yes" points to always appear on top of the "No" points... any ideas?

  • It's not an answer but relatively easy to accomplish workarounds include: 1. using the layer twice with different definition queries, with the Yes layer on top of the No, and 2. adding a field specifically for symobology and calculating the appropriate values in to it.
    – John
    Commented Feb 26, 2018 at 21:08
  • Thanks @johns. I was hoping to avoid (1) as I have to export all my maps to print documents and didn't want to have to deal with the legend ramifications (although not impossible). Not sure I understand what you're saying in (2). I know how to make/calculate fields, but not sure how it would help here. Would you mind explaining a little more? (Sorry.) Do you mean do (1) and (2) together?
    – s_bklyn
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 16:31
  • 1
    By 2. I meant creating a field where each different multiple field attribute combination got a particular value; and you would then symbolize using that value. As single values you could then use symbol levels.
    – John
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 17:36

1 Answer 1


This is achievable using Symbol Levels.

In your layer properties dialog box, go to the Symbology tab, then click on the Advanced Button and Symbol Levels. Here, you can adjust the drawing order of different categories.

Note, you'll need to save the settings in your MXD or in a .LYR file so you can reuse these settings again.

EDIT: The Advanced button should have the Symbol Levels option when you symbolise by multiple attributes as shown by the screenshot below:

enter image description here

  • Thanks Fezter, but it appears that when I'm displaying by multiple attributes, the Advanced button doesn't have the Symbol Levels option.
    – s_bklyn
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 16:24
  • I've edited my answer to include a screenshot that it does appear for me.
    – Fezter
    Commented Feb 27, 2018 at 22:52

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