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View a legend (Map Viewer)

A legend shows the meaning of the symbols, colors, and styles used to represent geographic data on the map. Legends consist of examples of the symbols on the map with labels containing explanatory text. Legends have patches that match the map symbols, which are often points, straight lines, rectangles, or color ramps. The layer author may have customized the legend patches; for example, some areas are represented with patches of another shape, or rivers are drawn with a winding line rather than a straight line.


You can use keyboard shortcuts to quickly complete common workflows in Map Viewer. To view the full list of keyboard shortcuts in Map Viewer, press Alt+? on Microsoft Windows or Option+? on Mac.

To view a map's legend, do the following:

  1. In Map Viewer (formerly a separate beta installation but now included with the portal automatically), find and open the map with the legend you want to view.
  2. On the Contents (dark) toolbar, click Legend Legend.

    The legend appears in a new pane and displays information about each layer that is visible at the current map scale. Not all layers contain legend information.

Hide a layer in the legend

You do not need to show all map layers in the legend. For example, if the map focuses on unemployment rates for a county, you may want the legend to show only employment symbols and not street symbols and other reference data you've included in the map.

To hide a layer in the legend, do the following:

  1. Find and open the map with the legend in which you want to hide a layer.
  2. On the Contents (dark) toolbar, click Layers Layers.
  3. Browse to the layer you want to hide and select it.

    The layer's Properties pane appears.

  4. In the Symbology section of the Properties pane, turn off the Show in map legend toggle button.
  5. On the Contents toolbar, click Legend Legend.

    The layer is hidden in the legend. To show it again, select the layer in the Layers pane, open the Properties pane from the Settings (light) toolbar, and turn on the Show in map legend toggle button.

Considerations for viewing a legend

Keep the following in mind when viewing a legend:

  • Basemaps, map image layers, map notes layers, and layers that are not accessible externally do not contain legend information. Imagery layers support legend information.
  • Legends for map layers may not match the legend in Map Viewer. This can occur when the legend in Map Viewer is out of sync with the symbology in the layer. For example, the layer author changed the symbology in the service, but Map Viewer still displays the older symbology. Map Viewer typically displays the latest legend after 30 minutes. Layer authors may need to clear the REST cache of the map service to see the legend updates in Map Viewer. The layer author can trigger an update to the legend by changing the layers, for example, by renaming a layer or reordering the layers.