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In my GoogleEarth kml file I have multiple polygon groups, each "like" group gathered under their own folder. I have hidden the individual polygons in their respective folders by "checkHideChildren" so as to reduce clutter. However, by doing so, the shared polygon style within each folder is also hidden - i.e., all one sees at the top level are plain folder icons.

Is there a way to change the respective folders icons to reflect the style/color polygon patch within whilst keeping the children hidden? I do not wish to have an external link to a custom icon. I would like to keep the kml file self-contained and utilize the existing style or icon system, as appropriate.

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There is a way to do this. It's not simple, and can't be done via the Earth Pro interface, but can be done by editing the KML (manually or programatically) to add a "List Style", and creating an "icon" that looks like your polygon list symbol.

First, you have to go in and add a <Style><ListStyle>... section to each Folder element, or as a shared style referenced by the appropriate folders. List Styles let you customize how each folder is shown in the Places list, including what type of folder it is (checkbox, radio button, hide contents, etc.) as well as the background color (not recommended to change this), and the icon shown. For folders, you can specify two different icons, for the open state and the closed state (for NetworkLinks there are many additional states). If you add a section similar to what's below, you can customize your folder icon:

<Style id="my_style_for_folder_of_blue_polygons">
  <ListStyle>
    <listItemType>checkHideChildren</listItemType>
    <ItemIcon>
      <state>closed</state>
      <href>http://example.com/myicons/my_blue_polygon_icon.png</href>
    </ItemIcon>
  </ListStyle>
<Style>

If your folder is not locked closed with "checkHideChildren", then you'll probably want to add a second <ItemIcon> section for the open state. And of course, if you have other style types applied to the folder, or in the shared style, they can be included in the same <Style> section, before the <ListStyle> (per the spec ListStyle goes last). More information on ListStyle is available in the documentation: https://developers.google.com/kml/documentation/kmlreference#liststyle

Unfortunately the polygon symbol shown in the list view by Earth Pro is not available as an icon file, as far as I know, so you'll have to make your own. Recommended icon sizes are 32x32 or 64x64 pixels. If you want one that looks just like the polygon list symbol, then what I would do is take a screenshot of Earth, crop out just the polygon icon that you want, adjust size if needed, save it as a PNG file, put it on your server for hosting, and insert the URL into the sample style above. You'll need to make one for each color.

  • Thank you. I do manually edit my KMLs via Notepad++, so that is not a problem. However, I was hoping there was a method which did not require <href></href> tag to reference to an external icon set, as per the documentation pages. But, alas, it seems it is not to be. Just like several other things [cough css or similar cough] on my personal wishlist. – Meneks Apr 18 at 22:39
  • If you're zipping your KML into a KMZ file, you can include the icon file in there and reference it locally. – Christiaan Adams Apr 19 at 0:46

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