The default ArcMap polygon selection symbol is a cyan outline. This symbol can be manually changed for each layer within each map document using Layer Properties > Selection.

However, I would like to change the default selection symbol for all polygon layers in all map documents (including currently existing .mxds as well as future) from the cyan outline to some other symbol of my choosing, without having to cumbersomely modify each layer in each .mxd one-at-a-time.

For example, I may wish to change the selection symbology to a marker symbol, as shown in the screenshot below. While I can do this per layer, per .mxd, I would like make such a symbol the application-wide default:

enter image description here

Customize > ArcMap Options does not offer this ability. A search through the ESRI help documents, as well as an internet search turned up nothing.

How can I set the default polygon selection symbol from a cyan outline to some other symbol?

1 Answer 1


You modify it application wide by going to Selection > Options. ;)

Selection Options

  • 1
    Close, but not quite! Your suggestion will only change the default selection color. I would like to change the entire symbology, not just color. I've edited my OP to (hopefully!) make my question clearer.
    – Stu Smith
    Mar 9, 2021 at 18:11
  • @StuSmith, I know of no mechanism through the GUI to alter the actual symbol of a selection other than individually through each layer as you have shown in your question. So that leaves you with one option, write some VBA/VB code and alter the selection symbol through arcobjects interface IfeatureSelection.
    – Hornbydd
    Mar 9, 2021 at 19:43

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