We're planning to put up a bunch of our maps into ArcGIS Online and we'd like to create a streamlined process to do so, with as much automation (Python) as possible. This is our first test with a map of a city park with lots of unique symbols. We figure we'd get a map up there, then figure out what can be scripted.

Anyhow, so, we have an .mxd of a park where pretty much each layer has fancy symbols for things like parkbenches, bathrooms and the like. Upon fiddling around with ArcGIS Online, it looks like it only takes .txt, .csv, and .gpx files. I managed to get layers into "My Content" but it doesn't let me add it into a map. When I go "Add>Search for Layers" and tell it to search in My Content, nothing shows up. I then shared the layer in My Content so it was public on ArcGIS Online, and tried seeing if the search func. would see the layer in ArcGIS Online. No luck.

How do I get it to take attribute data, but also the symbology data from my layers?

2 Answers 2


If you have and ArcGIS Online for Organizations (AGOL) account and ArcGIS Desktop v10.1+, File >> Share as >> Service >> My Hosted Services will transfer the data and it's symbology to the online service.

If you're using custom symbols, there is degradation of quality as they are converted to coarse bitmaps, but at least it resembles what you start with.

As far as I know for the free community ArcGIS Online accounts the only choice you have for symbolizing is as outlined in Mapperz' answer.

  • Does this actually upload the symbology or just link to published imagery/services on your own server? I assume that the entire point of "hosted" is that AGOL hosts everything.
    – brichins
    Mar 4, 2014 at 23:37
  • 1
    @brichins yes the symbols are saved as bitmaps on their infrastructure (but exactly where and how is hidden, you can't just edit and replace .../some/path/to/symbol.png. The whole service definition needs to be re-uploaded) Mar 5, 2014 at 17:42
  • @mattwilkie Do you know if there's any way around the loss of quality, by keeping the icons as vector symbols and not converting them to bitmaps?
    – mvdl
    Jan 19, 2022 at 12:30
  • @mvdl i would explore (a) Esri Style files are just Access mdb, see gis.stackexchange.com/questions/25414/…, (b) if fonts convert TTF to SVG - everythingfonts.com/ttf-to-svg (I think uses ttf2svg in background). Jan 19, 2022 at 17:11

To change the default style, follow the steps below on ArcGIS Online:

Click the Details button. Click the Contents button. Navigate to the feature layer that contains the style you want to edit. Click the layer name. Click the Change Style icon. The Change Style Options window appears within the Details panel.


  • 1
    This doesn't answer the question at all.
    – Tanner
    Mar 12, 2013 at 22:19
  • the link is broken. The menu navigation path is still correct, for interactively managing the symbols after the layer is present online. It doesn't address exporting or transferring the symbols from Arcmap to Arcgis Online. Mar 26, 2013 at 19:43
  • Although as an aside, it is possible to use custom symbols on AGOL maps using this approach, though it seems to be limited to URLs (no file uploads).
    – brichins
    Mar 4, 2014 at 23:58
  • @brichins You can upload an image to "My Content" in AGOL. It'll host your marker symbol in the cloud and give you a URL to reference it by.
    – Roy
    Jun 2, 2014 at 15:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.