Hatches are line or marker symbols displayed on top of features at an interval specified in route measure units. Hatches allow you to make maps that are suitable for almost any application that uses measured linear features.
Layers based on linear features with measures always have at least one hatch class associated with them. Initially, the default hatch class contains one hatch definition. Additional hatch definitions can be added to this hatch class. Each hatch definition has its own set of properties. These include the multiple of the hatch interval at which the hatches in the hatch definition will be placed, the line or marker symbol of the hatches, and whether the hatches will be labeled. The use of multiple hatch definitions allows you to design complex hatching schemes.
Because hatch definitions might share many of the same properties, it is possible to copy the properties of a hatch definition and change only the properties that are different.
Any number of hatch classes can be associated with a layer. Each hatch class can contain any number of hatch definitions. One reason to create multiple hatch classes is to hatch some features one way and other features another way. To do this, you would associate a SQL query with your hatch classes. Another reason to have multiple classes is so that hatches can appear differently at different scales. To do this, you would specify a scale range with your hatch classes.
In situations when you need hatches at the ends of features, you need to add an end hatch definition to the hatch class. To appear on a map, hatches must be turned on via a check box. It is possible to turn each individual class on or off as well.
To save time, it is possible to import hatches from another layer. These layers may be in the map or may have been stored on disk as a layer file (.lyr). If any of the hatch properties in the layer from which you are trying to import are based on a field (for example, the hatch interval), that field must exist in the layer to which you are trying to import. Another time-saving method is the use of hatch styles.
Hatches do not respect the ArcMap overposting environment. As such, hatches and their labels can overlap one another. To avoid this, specifying a different hatch interval often alleviates the problem. In some situations, however, it is desirable to convert hatches to graphics so they can be moved on the map.
For advanced functionality, you might want to manipulate the text on hatches by generating a script.