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QGIS has a method to symbolize features called "Rule-based".

This method is super powerful because it allows the user to establish a list of rules to symbolize a layer's features. The user-generated rules can be however complex they want and can be based on more than just one of the layer's columns/attributes.

Rule-based symbology in QGIS

Adding custom-made rules for each symbology class

Does ArcGIS Pro have anything equivalent to this?

I found QGIS Rule-base symbology equivalent in the Esri Community forum but the now year-old answer boils down to "This hasn't yet been implemented in ArcGIS Pro".

Is this still the case?

And if it hasn't, what is a workaround I could use?

The best one I could come up with is to add a new column in the data and use ArcGIS Pro's "Calculate Field" function to fill that new column with numbers representing each of the new symbology classes using the same logic I'd use in QGIS' rule-based symbology. Then we could symbolize the layer's features using the "Unique Values" method based on this newly-generated column.

Is there a better/simpler way to do rule-based symbologies in ArcGIS Pro?

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    Have you looked into ArcGIS Pro's Attribute Driven Symbology?
    – PolyGeo
    Dec 22, 2022 at 20:51
  • Thanks for the quick response! I did skim over ESRI's article about that just a few mins before posting, but I thought it was mostly to make, for example, line widths and/or colors vary uniformly based on just one column in the data. I'll take a second look and see if it solves the problem! Thanks again for the tip!
    – Felipe D.
    Dec 22, 2022 at 21:00
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    I have only dabbled in Attribute Driven Symbology to date but I think you can use an Arcade expression with it to get comparable or greater functionality than what you describe. I'll be interested to see if that's what you find.
    – PolyGeo
    Dec 23, 2022 at 2:58
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    The first thing that come to mind is to duplicate the layer and set the rule as definition query on each layer ...
    – J.R
    Dec 23, 2022 at 11:15

3 Answers 3

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I'm glad you found a solution, even if it was convoluted.

After having gained some more experience with ESRI, it seems like the best way to create custom symbologies (their equivalent to the rule based ones in QGIS) is by using Arcade in the symbology "set an expression" box. enter image description here

One thing I discovered with the point and click grouping method (see above) is that the legends in ArcGIS Online get screwed up. I reported this to ESRI and they said it was a defect they were going to fix, but who knows when they'll actually get around to this.

With that in mind, I believe the Arcade approach is probably best for creating custom symbologies without adding new fields via the field calculator.

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I was having the same problem (while pining for the ease of doing this in QGIS). I came to the same conclusion as you. What I wanted to do was symbolize a number of features based on certain criteria (parcels, in this case) with all the remaining being a white background, with transparency, over imagery. I set a definition query on the layer and created the attribute-driven symbology. On the Symbology pane, I right-clicked on the heading over the group of parcels and was able to set a single symbology for all of them. When I then removed the definition query on the layer, the parcels I wanted had the symbology, and all remaining parcels had the “other features” symbology. I them needed to create maps of parcels by owner (most single parcels, but a few where multiple contiguous parcels were owned by the same person. I duplicated this layer as many times as I needed (on for each owner), and removed the symbologies for the properties that were owned by a different person.

I got what I wanted, but it seemed like a convoluted way to do it. I probably could have done this with a map series, but I didn’t have the time to investigate what I needed to do to be able group parcels owned by one person as a single map in the series. I’ll investigate further next time I need to produce a number of similar maps. There’s probably some sort of grouping I can define on the layer I’m using for the series. (I have done just this sort of thing in QGIS by creating a virtual layer with a group-by query on the owner, and using that as the generator of the atlas, and then symbolizing the parcels using the Geometry generator to display the one parcel (or several parcels) owned by each person (normally I wouldn’t need the Geometry generator for this because i would only need to symbolize one feature at a time for each map). This is what I like about QGIS; it allows you to touch things in a way ArcGIS doesn’t allow.)

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This is a somewhat limited solution, but ArcGIS Pro does have a Grouping function in the symbology. It would only really be helpful for applying the same symbol across different values in the same attribute. For me this is a frequent use case, but for others it may not be. enter image description here

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