I opened one point shapefile with ArcGIS 10.2 and I want to change the symbol of it.

When I click on the symbol, the ESRI symbols in the Symbol Selector don't show properly, but like "!" and "&".

What can I do to show them properly?

error in symbols

  • 1
    Please add a screenshot showing the error, as it seems to be a visualization problem. Feb 13, 2017 at 13:50
  • sorry, how can i upload the screenshot?
    – Pamela
    Feb 13, 2017 at 13:55
  • 1
    Click the "edit" text to edit your question and click the Image button to insert an image.
    – artwork21
    Feb 13, 2017 at 13:57
  • i sent the picture, did you receive it??
    – Pamela
    Feb 13, 2017 at 14:02
  • Does this happen within any blank map document for any point layer? Has this always happen, any major changes to your computer?
    – artwork21
    Feb 13, 2017 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


Based on this question from Esri's help forum Symbols not showing Correctly.

The answer that appeared to work is the following"

ArcGIS Symbols are defined making use of installed fonts. If the installation was complete, you will have TrueType font libraries TTF installed into C:\Windows\Fonts directory.

For ArcGIS 10.x should be 73 named esri_1.ttf --> esri_837.ttf. These font/symbol libraries will have a Title associated with them, e.g. esri_1.tif is Titled: ESRI Cartography and esri_837.ttf is Titled: ESRI ERS Operations S1.

If they are missing, or can't be read the system will substitute a replacement from an available font/symbol library on the system. A common one that causes issues for folks is the esri_40.ttf library titled: ESRI North--those are the North arrow symbols that don't exist on most systems and sometime are not embedded into PDF printouts from ArcMap -- the arrow is missing and a weird character is shown instead.

So, take a moment to look in C:\Windows\Fonts and check that the ESRI fonts are present, and also that in the Properties --> Security tab Users are able to Read & Execute, and Read the fonts/symbols. Be sure to check a few of them. If not present, try the repair install. If present and incorrect permissions, should be able to assign correctly (or rerun the installation "Run as Administrator").

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