Kv7ci4aaruym6yt25p4c workingwithfeaturelayersinarcmap 1050x600

Working with Feature Layers in ArcMap

Learning about Layers, Layer Properties, Layer Groups, Layer Files and Layer Packaging

Layers are a key concept when using ArcMap so this course has been developed to provide an introduction to using Feature Layers.

In this 29 minute course of 6 videos, which is suitable for English-speaking students from anywhere in the world, you will:

  • Preview spatial data using the Catalog window.
  • Add spatial data to data frames to create Layers using two methods.
  • Understand that Layers have a spatial data Source
  • Configure many Layer Properties from the General, Display, Symbology, Fields, Definition Query and Labels tabs.
  • Create Layer Groups using two methods.
  • Share layers as Layer Files.
  • Share layers and their source data as Layer Packages
  • Plus much more.

Before commencing this course you should:

  • check that you have suitable versions of any software required for this course, and
  • download any required data

Checking your version of ArcGIS for Desktop

This particular course was recorded using the ArcMap application of ArcGIS 10.4 for Desktop but much of it should be applicable to any version of ArcGIS 10.x for Desktop, including ArcGIS Desktop 10.0 and possibly even ArcGIS 9.x. Layer Packages were only introduced at ArcGIS 9.3.1, but all other key functionality used in this course is believed to have been available even longer than that.

If you are unsure how to check the version of ArcGIS for Desktop that you are using then please view Check your ArcGIS for Desktop version from PolyGeo's YouTube video channel.

If you do not have access to a suitable version of ArcGIS for Desktop then perhaps consider purchasing ArcGIS for Personal Use from Esri (direct if you are in the US, or via one of its distributors, if elsewhere). The cost is understood to be about $100 per annum, and includes an Advanced level license of ArcGIS for Desktop and ArcGIS Pro, as well as many of their extensions.

Downloading Natural Earth data

This course uses up to four shapefiles which can be downloaded from Natural Earth:

  • ne_10m_admin_0_countries.shp (Countries - polygons)
  • ne_10m_admin_1_states_provinces.shp (States and Provinces - polygons)
  • ne_10m_populated_places.shp (Populated Places - points)
  • ne_10m_railroads.shp (Railroads - lines)

In the lesson videos these will be found in the C:\polygeo folder, so it is recommended that you place them there too.

It is also recommended that you keep a copy of the polygeo folder, with these four shapefiles, as they were immediately after downloading, so that if you want to repeat the course, or undertake another eLearning video tutorial from PolyGeo via Discover Spatial, then it will be available to copy instead of having to re-download the data.

If you do not already have the C:\polygeo folder with the above four shapefiles, then please view Download Natural Earth Data and Preview in ArcMap from PolyGeo's YouTube video channel


Your Instructor


Graeme Browning
Graeme Browning

Graeme provides training, consulting and support in:

  • ArcGIS for Desktop;
  • ArcGIS Pro;
  • ArcPy/Python and ModelBuilder/Geoprocessing generally;
  • ArcGIS Online and Story Maps;
  • Family HiStory Mapping; and
  • Google Earth .

He has been using Esri software for over 25 years (18 of those with Esri International Distributors in the United Kingdom and Australia), and Google Earth for more than 5 years, and works with the latest versions of the ArcGIS platform and Google Earth.


Class Curriculum


  Introduction
Available in days
days after you enroll
  Sharing Layers
Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

This course is not open for enrolment.