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Masking in ArcGISLinked layer files?

January 14 2009 | 1 comment
Categories: ArcGIS Methods, Symbology

I am working on an atlas and there quite a few styles that I have saved as .lyr files for quick symbolization consistency across the 300+ maps I am creating. When a style changes slightly I would like to be able to re-save the .lyr file and have that change automatically propagate itself through all the MXD's that use it. It there a way to create "linked layer files?" The necessity to "re-load" the updated symbolization to all the different MXD's becomes quite burdensome.

I would like it to work similar to the way desktop publishing software utilizes "placed images," whereby instead of imbedding the image - it is placed and if there is an update, the software recognizes it and it automagically updates if prompted.


Mapping Center Answer:

The concept of referencing colors, symbols (or even symbol layers) is something we've been thinking about for a while.  First, there's nothing helpful in our standard symbology--you have to bear up and suffer through the tedium (or be up front about the cost of making changes late in the game).

That said,  there are a few things you can do if you use representation symbology.  In particular when you drive a symbol's properties using attributes in your data.  For instance, you can have the widths of line symbols stored as an attribute and then calculate them at any point, knowing that the next time you use any map that has a layer using that data and representation, you will get the updates.  That puts a bit of a burden on you to create, manage, and document that, but that's cheaper than the alternative. 

There's still nothing that will do select by color (which really ought to be find/replace by color).  There are a few others who have put the time into creating an Atlas using ArcGIS as the mapping engine--you know them from NACIS.  If you contact them, this would be a good place to post any tips they have.


Wrong title posted by Matthew Hampton on Feb 17 2009 12:34PM
I am not too sure you understood my original question and the title "Masking in ArcGISLinked layer files" is not quite appropriate either and should be something like "Making linked layer files in ArcGIS."

My request would be to have Layer Files work such that, upon opening an MXD that contains a data layer that has been given a visual attribute via a Layer File - that data layer looks to see if the Layer File has been updated. In this way - you could automagically update every instance of that Layer File across multiple MXD's, rather than having to open each MXD and applying a new style.

There surely must be a way to so this that I haven't figured out yet, but "linked Layer Files" would be an elegant solution.

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