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BMP Symbol appears on map but won't export/print

April 07 2009 | 2 comments
Categories: Publishing, Symbology

I have a point symbol that I created from a BMP file of our parks logo. It prints and exports just fine within the data frame, but in the legend all I get is a couple of random pixels (see attached PDF, in the map it's the dark green "tree" symbol in the County Park land areas) when I print or when I try to export it to a PDF or JPG. I've tried changing the export settings around, making it bigger or smaller, switching the legend to graphics, even changing the order it appears in the legend - I've tried everything! I even tried using a BMP symbol from ESRI's default picture library (the z_water_well.bmp to be exact) and that didn't work either! So it doesn't appear to be my symbol alone.

Mapping Center Answer:

From your map, it seems to me that you are using the BMP in a picture fill symbol (in fact, it seems you might even be using two picture fill symbols in a multi-layer symbol because there appears to be a light green stipple, which is also a picture fill symbol, over a medium green background under your dark green tree symbols).

I can see that not many of the dark green tree symbols show up on your map, so I suspect that you either have the symbol set to show only a few times at the reference scale for the map, or you set the x and y separation for the BMP picture in the fill symbol to be rather large (this is on the Fill Properties tab of the Symbol Property Editor for picture fill symbols).

What this means is that the probability of the BMP falling within the extent of the small legend box is rather low (the legend does not know that it should place the BMP in the middle of the legend box because it is part of a fill symbol, and not actually a point symbol.)

An easy fix is to simply add the BMP picture to your map layout and place it over the legend box that shows the symbols for your Country Parks. This should work when you export the map as well.

No, not a polygon! posted by Kimberly Meinert on Apr 9 2009 6:10AM
Actually I am not using it in a picture fill, it's a marker for a point feature. I get what you're getting at, but that's not the case here, it's a point, not a polygon.
bmp vs. emf posted by David Barnes on Apr 9 2009 7:40AM
That's a pretty simple symbol (in that it's only one color). I would try turning it into a vector emf and using an emf picture symbol instead. There are probably multiple ways of doing that. One way I have done this is to place the bmp in Adobe Illustrator, live trace (or trace manually if it's simple enough), then save the result as an emf. Then when you go to choose the picture for your picture symbol in ArcMap change the file type in the file browser to emf.
Vector-based emf's have several advantages over bmps - for example, they are often smaller, ArcMap symbology using them usually draws quicker, they scale up without pixellation, they can have transparent (no color) backgrounds, they don't cause rasterization on output.

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