ArcGIS 10.3.1 for Desktop

I have an mxd file with nine different frames of essentially the same data (just displaying different layers in each map). These maps all include hospitals (as a point file). I'd like the symbology and labels to be linked between the frames, so if I update a master, the rest gets updated.

The files do share a symbology layer (I created one called hospital.lyr), but if I update it, I have to manually go into each frame and reload hospital.lyr. With nine frames, it gets time consuming.

Same thing for the label. I have defined a label style (myhospital), but if I update it, I have to go reload it for all the different frames.

Can I have these somehow linked, similar to how I can lock the scale/extent of various data frames to a master data frame? Just to be clear, I'm not asking for the symbology to be linked to the layer. I want the symbologies to be linked between the data frames; same thing for the labels.

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure there is a sync layer symbology option, however you could write a small python/arcpy script that does it, see hypothetical script flow below:

  1. Create a list variable of the layer names that will need updated
  2. Loop through the map data frames and nest another loop through the layer list and use conditional if logic to see if the layer name equals one of the list layer names
  3. If layer name match found use Apply Symbology From Layer method to apply update .lyr to the layer

This will save some time so you do not have to do it manually for each layer each time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.