I have a layer file with several thousand records and a lot of columns. I'm trying to map this by breaking out values from one of the columns into categories. But I don't see an option for Categories in the symbology tab in "Layer Properties". I don't know why this is the case since there are definitely values in multiple columns that could be broken into categories. Here is what the Symbology tab looks like:

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Is ArcGIS being weird or am I doing something wrong here?

  • Weird ArcGis. Try in a new mxd
    – FelixIP
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 23:21
  • 1
    Also happens after a layer re-source. Try opening and closing layer properties.
    – danak
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 20:42

1 Answer 1


If you had previously set symbology to Categories and then did something to change the categories in the attribute table (such as deleting a field, even if the field you deleted was not one used for symbology) that can temporarily disable symbolize by category. Switch over to a different symbology type (for instance, symbolize by features) and click OK. Once it symbolizes by another type, you should be able to go back into Properties and Categories should be back in the list of symbology options.

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