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Can I change the shape of the shield on a point symbol from square to circle as shown in the image?

Alternatively, can I import symbols (specifically in a vector format) from Corel Draw?

It can't be in an image format.

Hiking example


The export to EMF from Corel solution is fantastic, but I can't change colours once used as a symbol in ArcMap (See image below).

enter image description here

@JR - I don't have that font option.

How can I add it?

enter image description here

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To add to the other great answerenter image description here

This is the way to do it with font symbol (in this case I find a hiker symbol in the ''ESRI NPS 9.1'' font)

notice the lock symbol next to the layer (bottom left white box), the hiker symbol is locked so it will stay black, the circle symbol under is left unlock so you will be able to change the color

During arcgis installation you should get a lot of font (with name beginning by ESRI) with all kind of symbol

  • Thank you JR. My version of ArcMap does not have the 'ESRI NPS 9.1 option in the drop down menu. I Have every ESRI font one could imagine except this one. I can't post a picture in this reply area, please see my new edit to the original question above. And thank you again!! – Dano Apr 12 '18 at 16:26
  • You have to look all the font some may have the symbology you want, anyway you could use any font so you could look for free symbol font on the web and install on your computer – J.R Apr 12 '18 at 16:31
  • Have a look at these link for this kind of symbology : nps.maps.arcgis.com/home/… and nps.gov/hfc/carto/map-symbols.cfm – J.R Apr 12 '18 at 16:38
  • Got it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I awarded you the answer. Cheers – Dano Apr 12 '18 at 17:04
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HERE is a link of the process: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/creating-custom-symbols-arcgis-using-corel-draw-some-other-hoglund/

then here is the documentation on using custom marker symbols in Arcmap http://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/10.3/map/styles-and-symbols/about-creating-new-symbols.htm

be sure to export as emf filetype

  • @ GEO Dude - Thank you for the great links. It worked like a charm, with one exception ..... once I'm in ArcMap, the software won't let me change colours. I inserted an add on to my question (above). Any suggestions? – Dano Apr 10 '18 at 16:27
  • because you imported a image file, if you want to change the color (of the circle) add another emf file with the desired colored circle. – NULL.Dude Apr 10 '18 at 17:07
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Choose symbology of your layer and by hitting the preview point, you can open the Symbol Property Editor. At the Type drop-down menu you can choose Picture Marker Symbol. There you can import vector files, I guess. I hope, this helps.

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My answer is based on ArcMap, not ArcGIS Pro.

The first option of simply changing a symbol background depends on the specific symbol. Open the symbol editor (double click on the symbol in table of contents, the click "Edit Symbol" in the resulting Symbol Selector dialog, it should open the Symbol Property Editor dialog). What you are looking for is basically if the symbol you are trying to modify is one layer or multiple layers. In your above example, it may be that there is a layer that is just the hiker icon, with it's color set to white. And then there may be a second layer below it that is the background circle or square in green. If that is the case, then you can simply select the background shield layer from the layers selector box (near the bottom left corner of the "Symbol Property Editor" dialog box) and modify it to be the desired background. You may need to play with the options for the background to find the specific one you want, but if you search around even just the default character symbol options provided by ESRI out of the box with ArcMap, you will most likely be able to find one that meets your needs.

Even if the symbol is not multiple layers and noted above, you could still always add a second layer to the symbol, moving that below the current symbol and setting it to the exact same color as the existing symbol. So if you currently had a green hiker in a circle, you could add a larger square of the exact same green below the current symbol layer (and make sure there isn't an outline around the circle), and visually it should end up appearing to be a hiker in a square (even if it is actually a hiker in a circle on-top of a square).

Finally, while I do not deal with vector drawings of the type you are suggesting for a custom symbol, so I can not test such, the custom picture symbol option does include *.emf format as an option, which suggests to me that it should, at least in theory, be able to handle a custom vector symbol, if you have the capability of outputing your drawing as a *.emf file. To use that, you would again go to edit the symbol's properties, and in the "Symbol Prpoerty Editor" dialog box, near the top, there is a "Type:" drop down, that should let you choose "Picture Symbol Marker" as an option. From there you should be able to be able to navigate to a *.emf file and select it to use. Again though, I don't work with that personally though, so I would definitely test it out to make sure it works as you desire/expect before spending a lot of time creating custom symbols for it.

  • @ John - Thanks for your answer. I tried GEO Dude's answer above, mainly because he posted first and I started testing his answer. I've had great success with it, except I can't change colours once in ArcMap. I have tried the ArcMap options you suggested (as I am already aware of them) and you would be surprised how much of a pain it is!! I can't get it to behave as I would like. If you can get it to work and show a working example (using the hiker symbol), it would save me a lot of trouble. I think you'll find that it's more difficult than it should be (in theory). – Dano Apr 10 '18 at 16:30

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