I have some layers for which I have to use special symbology. Most of these symbols are lines (continous, dashed, dotted, etc.) but they have different text in them for example:


Can I create a custom line symbol with text in it like in AutoCAD?

So far I've created a line symbol with multiple symbol layers. One Cartographic Line Symbol layer for the line and several Marker Line Symbol layers for each character. However, it's very complicated to setup the templates, the offsets and so on for each layer. And I have dozens of layers with such line symbol, so it's really time-killing and hard to document properly.

Is there any simplier way to create such linetype?

I'm using ArcGIS for Desktop 10.3 with Advanced license.


How I want the lines look like:

enter image description here

Some layers I have to style:

enter image description here

  • Can you add a screenshot of the effect you're going for?
    – Dan C
    Commented Apr 25, 2016 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


You're going to have to make some custom symbols. Luckily you can save them so you can easily use them in the future. Here's how you do it:

  1. Go to Symbol Property Editor for your line. Add 2 line layers.
  2. The first line layer type will be Cartographic Line Symbol. Make it whatever line type you want (solid, dashed, colors, etc.).
  3. The second line type will be a Marker Line Symbol. If you cannot find a symbol here you're looking for then you will have to create your own. Most of what you will need is likely already in there. If you go to the ESRI SDS 1.95 2 font, there are word symbols for most of your common CAD labeling such as GAS, ST, W, etc. If you need custom symbols then create them in that Marker Line Symbol layer and save them.

Once you have your symbols saved you can easily apply them then.

  • Thank you! Some of these word symbols will work for me but I still need some that aren't exist now. How can I create my own symbols? These symbol sets are like font types, aren't they? Do I need to create a new font with my own symbols?
    – Zsott
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 7:05
  • 1
    You can use any font you want if your symbols are going to be words. Create a marker symbol with your letters offset to make a word. For example: if you want to make "HW" as your text, you'd offset the H -x and the W +x on the horizontal axis. Once it's spaced properly, save it. If you want there to be a break in the line where your text is, add halo behind the text. Creating custom symbols is mainly just experimenting until you find what you're looking for.
    – Adam Kara
    Commented Apr 26, 2016 at 10:55
  • @ Adam Kara how if it is three letter to add? Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 13:53

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