I have a large number of rivers and streams on my map which do contain elevation data in the attribute table. I would like the lines on the map representing the rivers to have small reverse arrows sticking out of the line at an angle (i.e. like an arrow head) to show the direction that the rivers are flowing. I have tried to find a line symbology that could do this automatically for me but one does not appear to exist.

Is there any way around this problem?

I know that I could manually add hundreds of arrow heads on top of the hydro lines although I'm hoping that there is a better way.

I am using ArcGIS Pro with a Basic level license so I don't have all of the fancy tools.


1 Answer 1


If you want to simply display the flow direction of your lines (in your case rivers) then you select the appropriate styling as shown below.

Click on image to make it larger so easier to watch


The styling will set the lines black but you can then fiddle around with the properties to change them back to blue.

  • Thank you for the advice. The problem with this method is that not all rivers will be flowing to the right or the left, they flow in multiple different directions (including north and south). This means that simply applying a left or right arrow symbology for all rivers means that many of the arrows will be pointing in the wrong direction.
    – Dave_P37
    Jun 16, 2020 at 7:56
  • A found a way that seems to work and it is shown at the link below, I'm not exactly shore how this method works out the flow direction but it does exactly what I need, thank you for your advice: community.esri.com/thread/…
    – Dave_P37
    Jun 16, 2020 at 8:12
  • Left or Right is simply the direction FROM to the TO end of the polyline, so if your polyline happens to be drawn in a north-south direction it still has a FROM to TO direction. If you chose the style I suggest and the arrow points in the opposite direction to the flow of the river it is telling you that the polyline was digitised (drawn) in a sea to source direction rather than the downhill logical source to sea direction, so you probably have to flip the polyline direction.
    – Hornbydd
    Jun 16, 2020 at 9:27

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