My workflow entails exporting ArcGIS Layers into Adobe Illustrator for cartographic output purposes. One problem I have at the moment is that I cannot replace my points with an Illustrator symbol. For example, points from ArcGIS are imported into Adobe Illustrator as circles. I cannot replace a circle with an Illustrator-symbol. What I can do however, is replace a single anchor point with a symbol. Is there a way to convert a circle to a single anchor point? or are there other ways in which I can replace GIS objects with Symbols?

So my question is somewhat illustrator based, but I thought as this is such a common GIS workflow, is may be answered here.

  • convert to SVG or EMF you will able to import them into ArcGIS.
    – Mapperz
    Feb 11, 2014 at 15:25
  • Sorry...Obviously I didn´t explain myself. I want to create the map in Illustrator - not import the symbols into ArcGIS. I need to convert my ArcGIS points into a form which, after I have imported the map into Illustrator, can the be replaced with Illustrator Symbols in illustrator. Feb 12, 2014 at 16:23
  • Most ESRI symbols are TrueType Fonts - you can add the symbol using the correct ESRI TrueType font - there are many windows7/8 Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Fonts
    – Mapperz
    Feb 12, 2014 at 16:44
  • Nathaniel Kelso's excellent "Find and Replace Graphics" worked like magic! It wasn't clear how to download the script from the web page. I just saved the file the as a js.txt file, which was the default file format in my PC. Then renamed the file extension from js.txt to .js and it worked.
    – Samz
    Apr 10, 2020 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


You might want to look into Nathaniel Kelso's excellent "Find and Replace Graphics" Illustrator script, which you can download here. This script allows you to uniformly replace GIS-generated symbols (or shapes, as the case may be) with Illustrator-defined symbols. It also allows you to scale the transformations, as necessary.

Mr. Kelso has compiled a number of other useful Illy scripts on his site, many of which help streamline the cartographic design process. Check them out!

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