**This post references ESRI ArcGIS Desktop 10.0. While the steps listed might work in previous or future versions of ArcMap, it is not guaranteed. There is an updated version of this post here.**
When you have a continuous raster such as a DEM in ArcGIS, you will likely want to adjust its color ramp to better highlight elevation changes. The default color ramps suffice for a majority of situations, however, your choices are still limited. To expand your list you could create your own color ramp or you could import a new .style file containing ready-to-use color ramps and symbols.
The ESRI Mapping Center provides a set of color ramps to help further depict raster surfaces. The ramps are divided among four styles which are Hypsometry, Hillshades, Events and CartoEffects. Following are the steps you take to add the new color ramps:
- On the ArcGIS resources page of the Mapping Center choose the Styles tab and click on ColorRamps2.0 to start the download.
- After you download the file, unzip it. Inside you will find four .style files and a .txt file describing the styles.
- Copy the four .style files to C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Styles.
- Open a map document.
- Click the customize dropdown and select Style Manager.
- On the right side of the Style Manager click on the Styles… button. In the Style References window that opens click Add Style to List….
- Navigate to C:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Styles where you placed the .style files and select the first one. You might have to repeat this step once for each style.
- After all of the styles are shown in the Style References list, make sure they are check marked and click the Set as Default List button.
- Click OK and you should see your styles on the left side of the Style Manager. Close the style manager. At this point you can go to the symbology tab of your Layer Properties for a given raster and select one of the new color ramps.
Tip: Right Click on the color ramp dropdown and uncheck Graphic View to see the text descriptions of the ramps.