Ask A Cartographer

Highway Symbols

January 03 2012 | 0 comments
Categories: Symbology

I need a black and white version of the Interstate symbol. Where can I get one or how can I make a custom one?

Thanks.

Mapping Center Answer:

An easy solution is to modify an existing symbol by simply changing the colors used. For example, you can edit the interstate symbol using the following steps (the method described will allow you to create a new symbol that you can access from your personal style):

  1. Open the Style Manager (click customize on the top bar menu > Style Manager).
  2. Expand the view for the Esri style.
  3. Expand the view for the Labels folder.
  4. Right click the Interstate symbol and click Copy.
  5. Expand the view for your personal style
  6. Expand the view for the Labels folder.
  7. Right click in the area at the right and click Paste. You should see a copy of the Interstate symbol.
  8. Right click the Interstate symbol and click Properties.
  9. In the Label dialog, click Symbol properties.
  10. In the Symbol Selector dialog, click Edit Symbol.
  11. In the Editor dialog, click the Advanced Text tab and click the Properties button for the Text Background (this is the shield symbol).
  12. On the Marker Text Background tab, click the Symbol button.
  13. In the Symbol Selecgtor dialog, click Edit Symbol.
  14. In the Symbol Property Editor dialog, at the left note the layers used in the symbol.
  15. Click the layer that you want to change the color of and it will become "active".
  16. Change the color of that layer in the symbol.
  17. Repeat this for any other layers in the symbol that you want to change the color of.
  18. When you have made all your changes, click OK on all the dialogs to get back to the Style Manager and save your changes.
  19. Once you have edited the symbol, it is a good idea to change the name so it is different from the original in the Esri style. Just click on the name of the symbol and change the name.

Because the symbol you edited is in your personal style, it will be displayed when you select a symbol to use for your highway labels. If you make the modified symbol in a different style, be sure to reference it in Style Manager so that you can select symbols in that style. To so this,

  1. Open the Style Manager (click customize on the top bar menu > Style Manager).
  2. Click the Styles button
  3. Click Add Style to List.
  4. Navigate to the location of the style that contains your modified symbol and select it so that it is referenced.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Close Style Manager.

To learn more, read the online help topic on Creating text symbols. To learn more about highway shield symbols in particular, read the Mapping Center blog entry on Using highway shields of varying lengths.

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