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I have a style file (*.style) generated in ArcGIS 10.0.

I need to use symbols from this file on machine with ArcGIS 9.3.

Is there some way to convert style file from format 10.0 to 9.3?

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have you tried adding the version 10 style file to 9.3? Isn't it just an access database? Make a backup of your existing style file before you attempt. – Jakub Oct 5 '11 at 0:08
Sure, I have. That's the reason I asked this question – Loom Oct 5 '11 at 11:00
you have not indicated that in your question. Please provide as much detail as you can as well as the methods you've already tried. – Jakub Oct 5 '11 at 13:18
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Jakub's answer of routing the symbols from v10 to v9.3 through layer files or mxd's is likely the most straightforward method. However if that was way too many clicks for your liking, and you're feeling hackish, and the styles to be converted are simple:

  1. Open both 9.3 and 10 style files in MS Access,
  2. Copy the rows you are interested in from > Fill Symbols to > Fill Symbols (this does polygons, repeat as needed for Colors, Lines, etc.)
  3. Close Access
  4. Open Arcmap 9.3 Style Manager, add the hacked .style file and:
    1. Delete every symbol which has no picture

All done (I think, I only tested lightly).

Deleting the blanks is important. Trying to view or edit properties of a "blank" symbol will crash Arcmap. In my testing the styles which come across blank are multilayer -- picture or marker fills with dotted backgrounds etc. -- while the ones which worked were just simple fills and so on. Some more testing would be needed to flesh out exactly which properties are backwards compatible.

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In most cases, style files created in 10 won't work in 9.3. This blog post from ESRI explains why. You can convert 9.3 style file to 10, but not the other way around. As they explain, you should create the styles in 9.3 to use them in both 9.3 and 10.

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Similar topic is discussed at Are layer files compatible between arcgis 10 and 9.3?

Create an mxd document in ArcMap 10. Load layer files that contain desired symbology and save layer as version 9.3 layer.
Alternatively you could load data into ArcMap 10 and symbolize as needed. Save the mxd as version 9.3. When you open the files in version 9, re-save the symbols and color ramps to the legacy style file.

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