This is a follow up to the “Custom Marker Symbols in ArcMap” article. So you’ve learned how to incorporate custom enhanced metafile graphics as marker symbols in ArcMap – now I’ll show you a trick to put those symbols on the end of a leader. This is useful in cases where marker symbols will be bunched or a marker might obstruct another feature – similar to leadering a label.
First, fire up ArcMap and load a point layer (this is also effective for line features and possibly polygons).
Open the properties of the point layer by double clicking the layer name in the table of contents or by right clicking and choosing properties.
First, let’s change the feature symbol to a clean black dot. This will be on the feature end of the leader (the item that the symbol is pointing to). Go to the symbology tab in the properties window and hit the symbol to change the properties.
Choose the “Cicle 1” symbol and enter 10 for the symbol size and hit okay. Then hit apply in the Layer Properties menu.
Now, we will build the leadered symbol. This leadered symbol is actually a label, one with no text color and a symbol background.
Go the the Labels tab in the Layer Properties menu and check the “Label features in this layer” check box at the upper left. Choose the Label Field as well. Try to choose a field that has short values or calculate a new field with only a couple characters for the sake of this symbol. Keep in mind that some placement properties will be associated with a label that you cannot actually see. You can control the placement of the leadered symbol by visualizing this ghost label. For instance, if you calculate a field with the value “11211” and set your labeling properties with a force split at the character ‘2’ then you can overlap the area of a square symbol fairly well and control overlap and proximity when auto labeling features.
Next, in the Labels tab change the text color to ‘no color’ then hit the ‘Symbol….” button.
This will bring you to the Symbol Selector menu, the first step in a maze of menus that we need to get through to achieve the leadered symbol. Double click the symbol in the preview window.
This will bring up the Editor window, go to the Advanced Text tab, check the Text Background checkbox and click on the properties button.
A new Editor window will appear. Change the following settings: Gap: 0, Leader Tolerance: 0, Set all Margins to 0, Uncheck Accent Bar and Border. Check Leader and click on the Symbol button.
Upon hitting the Symbol button a new symbol selector menu will appear, double click the symbol in the preview window.
In the Symbol Property Editor change the type to Cartographic Line Symbol then go to the Line Properties Tab.
Choose the line with the arrowhead on the right side and click Properties.
Finally we are in the menu where we can put a custom symbol on the end of our leader. In the Line Decoration Editor menu, hit the Symbol Button.
In the Symbol Selector Window that appears, double click the symbol in the preview pane.
Another Symbol Property Editor menu will appear, change the Type to Picture Marker Symbol and select an emf file for the line decoration symbol.
Hit OK on the many open windows until you get back to the Layer Properties menu. Do not hit cancel on any menu or you will lose your work. You should now see your symbol on the end of a line in the Text Symbol preview pane.
Hit OK to view the results.
Notice that the leader does not have allow enough room for the symbol to draw and the result is not quite what we expected. Go back into the layer properties and the labels tab. We will now push the offset of the label far enough for the symbol to show. In the Labels tab, click on the Placement Properties button.
In the Placement properties window, click Label Offset.
Enter the values shown. Preferred Offset – 25 points and Maximum Offset – 500%.
Hit OK to return to the map and to see the leadered symbol.