Im trying to import AutoCAD blocks into ArcGIS. The polyline part of the symbols in these blocks i want to store as a symbol in ArcGIS.

Some symbols i was more or less able to find in existing symbols or edit from 2 or more existing symbols, but its cumbersome to change color for example that way.

Anyone know an easy way to convert blocks to ArcGIS symbols ?

  • if the answer doesn't work. try explode command in autocad. you would want the block to be in it's own drawing. explode will reduce "most" geometry types to it's simple form. Note it could change the look of some blocks. and you would certainly lose any dynamic block features in autocad.
    – Brad Nesom
    Nov 14, 2013 at 16:18

2 Answers 2


I do not think there is a easy way to do this since the geometry types are different. You have two options though:

  • Model/create the symbol in ArcMap Symbol Property Editor. You really can almost make any symbol by stacking/rotating/sizing various symbols together, see e.g. below

enter image description here

  • You could also just take a screen capture of the polyline graphic, paste it into GIMP (or any photo editor), crop and save the image, then import it as a Picture Marker Symbol into Arc. This option is more limited though since you cannot easily change the symbol (e.g. color...)

Something i never really noticed, and isnt properly documented in the symbol property editor.

I never understood what the locks did, but a colleague had a "eureka" moment (at least from my point of view). But it turns out if you "unlock" all the separate parts take together make your symbol, you can change the color of your symbol in 1 go, otherwise, with the locks in place, you got to change the color of each separate segment (in complicated symbols, i dont want to edit the color 6x for example).

With this new knowledge, i can design my symbols with the symbol property editor and make sure my new symbols are easy to work with for my colleagues, that was one of my primary aims.

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