Sorry for the noob question, but is there any resource (on the web) where I could more or less search semantically for symbols to use in an ArcMap layout?

Using the Symbol Selector, I have to scroll through all the symbols from different Style References. I assume there might be one which is fitting my purpose, so is there a more intelligent way of finding it?

(Current case: have to add some measurement towers to a map.)

  • There are also a number of fonts (that all start with ESRI...) that you can use as character marker symbols. Not sure all of them are referenced in a style. I usually find what I need there, but it takes some time to go through them all.
    – Martin
    Dec 8, 2014 at 10:34
  • 3
    Is using 10.0 mandatory for you? Upgrading to 10.1 would have given you a search toolbar for symbols by name and keywords right there on the Symbol Selector.
    – PolyGeo
    Dec 8, 2014 at 10:39
  • I can't check, but I think that the feature that you mention is already available for ArcGIS 10.0 blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/2010/09/28/…
    – radouxju
    Dec 8, 2014 at 13:38
  • The search feature is available, though as far as I can see it only works on symbol names (still have to figure out if symbols even have keywords). I was thinking of a more semantical search, probably user-backed by tagging of the available symbols. Like searching for "cat", and getting both something named "kitten" (and maybe a symbol for bulldozer at the same time. ;-) ).
    – aae
    Dec 9, 2014 at 11:20

1 Answer 1


As pointed out by @radouxju the search for symbols functionality was introduced at ArcGIS 10.0 and from a blog enitled Symbols and styles in ArcGIS 10.0:

Finding appropriate symbols to apply to your features and graphics is easy in ArcGIS 10 because you can search for and use symbols without having to know to which style they belong, nor have that style referenced. When searching for symbols, you can search within all styles available on your system—including your custom styles—or you can limit search results to only those styles currently referenced.

Symbols in ArcGIS 10 have searchable tags that describe graphic characteristics, such color or type. These tags can be modified for symbols in custom styles to describe any relevant characteristic, such as a related project, map, layer, scale, or specification.

It sounds to me like the type of search you are looking for is available for custom styles - you just need to add the tags you want to search for - but not for styles that come with ArcGIS Desktop which you can only search for using graphic characteristics.

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