I created custom symbols on my PC at home using:

Layer Properties dialog box > Symbology tab > Advanced > Rotation

Now I want to transfer the symbology settings to another machine on campus.

How can I do this?

I can't locate a file which contains the setting.

  • I haven't personally confirmed the suggestions but these are all good information for ArcGIS users. So I accepted them. Thank you all.
    – Sumi
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 1:22

5 Answers 5


You could save the layer out as a layer file (this doesn't store data):

Saving a layer file

And then import that layer file as symbology:

Import symbology

Or, if you want the data, and symbology included in one package, you could save the symbolized layer as a layer package. This would probably be the easiest and best solution.

Saving a layer package (scroll down)

After you create the layer package, you just open it on the new computer and it will add the data and symbology you created.

  • I would also add if the user wants this style saved on the PC, then after adding the .lyr file to the map document and correcting any bad data sources, they should open the properties of the layer, go to Symbology, and save the rendering into the styles library of their choosing.
    – evv_gis
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 17:25
  • Hi Ian, thanks for your input. I've tried to save the layer as a layer package. But every time I try to 'share', it returns 'general failure' error message. I haven't figure out why it's happening ...
    – Sumi
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 3:47
  • @Sumi Do you have a slash / or \ in any of your layer names? That can cause issues apparently. Give this a read: geonet.esri.com/thread/60489 if you Google "arcgis layer package general function failure" you get quite a few results.
    – ianbroad
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 3:16
  • Hello Ian, Sorry for my late response. No, I don't have a slash in my layer names.
    – Sumi
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 16:54

If you want the symbols separately as a style reference then access the pc have intended symbols and go to "C:\Users\USER_NAME\AppData\Roaming\ESRI\Desktop10.1\ArcMap". There you will find USER_NAME.style. Copy this file and paste in the location "C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.1\Styles" of the new pc.


N.B. In fact, if .style file extension is changed to .mdb then it is an ms access databse where you can change the properties of symbols.

  • 1
    Is there any other way (except .mdb hack) to edit symbol properties?
    – SAZ
    Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 7:46
  • Yes you can use "Customize>Style Manager".
    – Learner
    Commented Jan 24, 2015 at 7:47
  • Hi Sheriff, thanks. That's the file location I wanted to know. It should work ... But after I copied the files to another machine, my new style file is grayed out in the style preference list and I can't add it :-( Looks like the source of the problem is the ldb file.
    – Sumi
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 3:50
  • Then copy only .style file, .idb will be generated autometically.(look edited answer too)
    – SAZ
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 4:40

When you send someone a layer file you are assuming that the fonts to create that symbology are installed on their pc. If that person opens the layer file and sees wingdings instead of your symbology you will need to send them the fonts located on your pc at (C:/window/fonts); they will need to store the fonts in the same location on their pc to get them to show up correctly in ArcMap.


I don't think you can save a Rotation setting in a Style the same way you'd save a custom marker symbol. But I think you can still transfer the symbology's Rotation setting to another machine using a Layer (.LYR) file. Try this:

  1. On your home PC, open ArcMap, highlight the layer which has the rotation setting you want, then right-click it and click "Save As Layer File..."

    enter image description here

  2. Copy the .LYR file to your campus PC.

  3. Open the ArcMap project you want to bring use the symbology in. Right-click the layer you want to use the symbology on, click the Symbology tab, then the Import button, and import the symbology from the .LYR file by clicking the folder icon next to the "Layer" dropdown box.

enter image description here


Take a look at The ESRI Resources for the Style Manager.
You'll need to create your own, new style file, and copy your styles from the default into your new one.
Then on the new machine, just import/add the style file with your styles.
ArcMap 9.x Tools > Styles > Style Manager
ArcMap 10.x Customise > Style Manager

  • I don't believe this will store rotation settings like he mentions.
    – ianbroad
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 17:32
  • I think your right. I think the advanced rotation has to be defined in the layer, not in the symbology/style.
    – Andy
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 17:36

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