The following seems like a straightforward requirement because I recall ArcInfo Workstation having an ARCPLOT command called POLYGONMARKERS available to do the display part 20 years ago.

Yesterday I tried to display a marker inside every polygon visible within an extent using ArcGIS for Desktop 10.2.

Some options for trying to do this are described in an Ask A Cartographer posting and comments.

The option of converting polygons to points was eliminated because the point placement for a polygon partially inside the map might often fall outside of the map.

However, this workaround sounded promising (and coincided with the approach our client was using):

You can of course symbolize polygons as points without changing the geometry type -- this is what you do when you use Graduated or Proportional Symbols (or even Charts) to render the polygon features.

... if you use the Graduated Symbol renderer and set the Symbol Size settings to be equal (e.g., from 4 pts to 4 pts).

... so I gave it a try:

  1. Start ArcMap 10.2 with a Blank Map (any ArcGIS 10.x version could probably be used)
  2. Drag ...\ArcTutor\Editing\Zion.gdb\Research_areas (or any polygon shapefile/feature class) into the map so that it has one layer
  3. Open the Layer Properties to the Symbology tab and show Quantities>Graduated symbols
  4. Set the Value field to anything numeric - I chose AREA
  5. Set Classes to 1 (anymore means multiple legend values - which I could work around by turning the legend into graphics)
  6. Set Symbol sizes from 4 to 4 (as recommended)
  7. Click on Template to open the Symbol Selector and choose Circle1 from the ESRI styleset (which sets it to 18pts by default)
  8. The result looks great on screen ...

enter image description here

... but now try to use File | Print Preview (or Export Map) and I think you will see the markers go missing!

enter image description here

Local support have informed me that Esri

have logged a new software bug: NIM095386 Graduated symbols with only one class do not print or export to PDF

Before I log an ArcGIS Idea to have this work (and in a more simple manner) in ArcGIS Pro, does anyone know an existing ArcGIS Idea or workaround (excluding those already eliminated above) to this issue?

  • 2
    Tested on 10.2.1 alpha. Looks like the symbol info is getting messed up. If you open up the symbol selector again, you should see that the size is set to zero. I thought I managed to get it to work once, by setting the symbol size equal to the range, but haven't been able to repro a working case.
    – mkennedy
    Sep 19, 2013 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


Switch to a layout view,
Right click the active data frame (layers by default).
Select the general tab and change the scale.
Mine works even without the layout view.
This all on 10.1 sp2

  • I did not try (and should have tried) Layout View before posting but, in any event, I just tested your procedure and that produces the same "missing markers" result in both Print Preview and Export Map (to PDF). Did you test?
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 19, 2013 at 0:42
  • Out of office today no test. Hmm
    – Brad Nesom
    Sep 19, 2013 at 1:58
  • 1
    I just logged it as a possible 10.2 bug with local support here. When I have an NIM number I will record it in my Question.
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 28, 2013 at 4:23
  • 1
    reproduced this on another machine 10.2 following instructions.
    – Brad Nesom
    Sep 30, 2013 at 21:12
  • 1
    Thanks for testing @BradNesom It has now also been reproduced by local support here too so am just awaiting an NIM (and 10.2.1 fix I hope).
    – PolyGeo
    Sep 30, 2013 at 21:28

Nice workaround but this can not be published as a service. If you are using geometry as your polygon feature class create a view using .STCentroid() method to transform your polygon to its centroid.

Suppose you have a polygon feature class named polygonfeatures with the following command you create a new point feature class pointfeatures

create view pointfeatures as 
SELECT  polygon.SHAPE.STCentroid() AS SHAPE, polygon.attribute1,  polygon.attribute1 FROM polygonfeatures AS polygon

Thus all attributes from polygonfeatures are maintained in your new point feature class.

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