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I have created a WMS on ArcGIS for Server 10.2 with a polygon layer which contains a unique value renderer with 4 categories. The resulting legend item can be called via service call, which responds with an image of 22 width and 64 height in pixels, this legend item is not displayed in the table of contents. (other layers symbolized with a single symbol of 12x12 pixels have a legend in ToC). When I open the properties of the WMS Server and click on the layer which has no legend in Table of Contents (ToC), I can see:

Legend Information: Available(Legends too large to display in ArcGIS)

A little googling results in this page: Using WMS service layers

It is documented that...

...when the image received for a layer in a WMS service exceeds this limit, no legend is displayed for the layer

Is there a way to alter the limits of the legend item shown in ArcMap?

  • Can't you create a legend graphic manually, then link it to the GetCapabilites response for the WMS? – nmtoken Mar 26 '16 at 17:37
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I think we need to take care to distinguish between the items displayed in the Table of Contents window, and the items displayed in a Legend Layout Element.

The ArcGIS 10.2 Online Help seems to have blurred over this distinction:

The size of WMS legends can vary greatly. Sometimes the size of the legend specified by the server is too large to be displayed in the ArcMap table of contents. This usually happens when the legend for a layer contains multiple symbols, such as a transportation layer displaying symbology for the different types of roads. With WMS services, the legends for layers are transmitted over the Internet as one image containing all the symbols. Although ArcMap supports legend entries with multiple symbols in its table of contents, ArcMap expects these entries to contain multiple images, one image per symbol. ArcMap also places a limit on the size, height, and width (in pixels) of an image it will display in the table of contents. When the image received for a layer in a WMS service exceeds this limit, no legend is displayed for the layer. These layers are therefore listed in the table of contents without symbology and without expansion controls. When a WMS legend is available but is not displayed in the table of contents, you can view the legend on the Styles tab of the WMS sublayer's Layer Properties dialog box.

While there are many GUI and ArcPy options to modify the items displayed in a Legend Layout Element, my understanding is that the items displayed in the Table of Contents window are much more "hardwired".

Consequently, as someone more accustomed to authoring non-web maps, I think your only options may be to do things like:

  • Reconsider how many layers you draw
  • Reconsider whether you need to have multiple categories for as many layers
  • Experiment with using Dynamic Legends - I am not sure how ArcGIS for Server handles these.

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