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I have an ArcGIS map document with one layer symbolized with Categories > Unique values. I want to update symbology for this layer by specifying a path to a picture marker symbol for every unique value. I can do that manually by clicking each default symbol in the Layer properties > Symbology and then Edit Symbol > type = Picture Marker Symbol and browsing to the file needed.

I have a list of attribute value -- name of .bmp file on disk.

Is there a way to do this in an automated way with ArcGIS/arcpy?

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I guess it is not (yet?) possible. See ArcGIS 10.2 documentation:

For access to the complete set of layer symbology properties and settings, for example, changing individual symbols for individual classes, it is necessary to author these changes in the ArcMap user interface and then save those changes to a layer file. These custom settings can then be applied to existing layers using the UpdateLayer function.

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