Skip navigation
All Places > ArcGIS Maps for Adobe® Creative Cloud® > Blog > Author: cloveman-esristaff

ArcGIS Maps for Adobe CC 1.5.2 update is now available here.


This update addresses the following issues:


- Extension errors with “Requires ArcGIS Online or Plus” when already signed in as an ArcGIS Online user (BUG-000128927).

- Error “Operation not available” keeps reoccurring when complimentary users try to change the dpi.

- Some complimentary users get an invalid authorization code error when emailed code is used for activation.


For more information about the product, please visit help


Thank you. 

Maps for Adobe CC team

The map data hosted in Esri’s geospatial cloud is one of the most valuable parts of the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud extension. It is the data that fuels your designs. In this blog we’ll highlight a number of unique maps and layers that have been configured specifically for use within Adobe. We’ll also mention other generic datasets you might find useful for your mapping projects.


Maps for Adobe has two unique vector basemaps; Vector Street Map and Natural Earth. Both have been designed and configured specifically for use within the extension.


Vector Street Map – This is the most popular map used within the extension. It is great to use if you want editable vector artwork in Illustrator over any part of the world! There is great detail all the way down to the city block level, and even higher levels of detail in most large urban centers around the world. While the focus of this map is on urban locations and features (eg. POIs and roads), it can also be used as a great reference map at smaller scales when you need a map of states, provinces, countries or even the globe. The data used in this map has also been recently updated to the most current versions available: 



Natural Earth – This is the 2nd most popular map used in the extension, and is another map specifically designed for use within Maps for Adobe. It is based on the free public domain Natural Earth data built through a collaboration of volunteers and supported by the North American Cartographic Information Society (NACIS). It is a great general purpose vector map, but we’d suggest you use the Vector Street Map if you need city or street level detail. The data is best suited for larger county, regional, or ideally country level maps. Natural Earth has also been updated to the latest version, 4.0 which was released in 2017.


Sometimes having the whole basemap is too much. Adding too many layers to Illustrator can affect file size, performance and introduce unnecessary layer management overhead. To help, we’ve introduced a number of Natural Earth layers grouped by theme. These are Populated Places, Transportation, Boundaries, Hydrography, Bathymetry and Grids and Graticules. You can find these layers in the ‘Add Layers’ dialog under ‘Browse from ArcGIS Location > Maps for Creative Cloud > Natural Earth’.



 USGSWe have added a number of valuable layers from The National Map (TNM) provided by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The data is current up to 2016 at the national level, and includes such layers as trails, physical, structural and cultural points in addition to Federal and Native American lands, plus a woodland layer representing tree coverage for the country.

 We have also made all the USGS contours (elevation lines) for the entire country available. Cartographers and designers alike love contours for the aesthetic they can bring to a map! The USGS uses digital methods and sources to construct this data, however much of the national coverage is derived from paper topographic maps that may be decades old. This is usually not an issue though, as contours typically do not change much over time. It is also important to note that the contour density and interval may change at historic map sheet extents.  The contour layer is best used at larger scales (1:24,000 to 1:100,000, like the old paper topographic maps) as they can be pretty detailed. Due to the density of this data, larger maps with small scales can add thousands of lines to your map, possibly resulting in degraded performance when drawing and downloading. So remember, with great (data) power comes great (map) responsibility


You can find the USGS layers in the ‘Add Layers’ dialog under ‘Browse from ArcGIS Location > Maps for Creative Cloud > USGS’.

 OSMOpenStreetMap is a collaborative project intended to create a free editable map of the world. It is wildly popular because of its high level of detail, global coverage and the fact that it can be edited by anybody in near real time. Esri has released 3 of the most used OSM layers as dynamic vector layers into ArcGIS Online. You can find building footprints, roads and points of interest layers from the ‘Add Layers’ dialog under ‘Browse from ArcGIS Location > Maps for Creative Cloud > OpenStreetMap’.


These layers are highly detailed and best suited for larger scale maps, from city level down to individual buildings (approximately from 1:72,000 to 1:1,000). In many areas it is the most detailed urban data available, but since it is crowd-sourced content there are inconsistence in coverage and attributes. Despite this, OSM is typically the best source of data for many developing parts of the world. Due to the complexity of the OSM data, doing things like changing the layer style or setting up labels can take some time. You will also get cleaner, more accurate vectors in Illustrator if you increase the DPI above the 96 DPI default. This may result in longer sync times so you will need to have a little patience, but it will be well worth it. Expect to see more OSM layers and options coming in the future. 


You can find the OSM layers in the ‘Add Layers’ dialog under ‘Browse from ArcGIS Location > Maps for Creative Cloud > OpenStreetMap’.


Business Locations – This layer of business locations is extracted from a comprehensive list of businesses licensed from InfoGroup. The layer contains data for more than 13 million U.S. businesses, and it can be styled based on business name (CONAME) or by North American Industry Classification (NAICS) code.



Tapestry – This is Esri's geodemographic market segmentation system which classifies U.S. neighborhoods into 67 segments based on their socioeconomic and demographic composition. For a broader view of markets, segments are grouped into 14 LifeMode Summary Groups that reflect lifestyles/life stages and 6 Urbanization Summary Groups that show levels of affluence and population density. The 2017 version of this layer was the 3rd most popular layer used in Maps for Adobe. There is a new layer out for 2018, and you can access it by entering it’s URL into the ‘Add Layers’ dialog:



Political Map – This is a simple world political map showing global country and US state boundaries, and it is also one of the most popular maps used within the Maps for Adobe extension. Because the data is less detailed than other layers, it is great for making overview maps. The default style shows each country with a unique color, however that can be easily changed to a single symbol if you are looking for something a little more muted.



There is a great collection of content available within ArcGIS Online and it is constantly growing with contributions from Esri, our business partners, and our users. If you are looking for something but cannot find it, please let us know.

We recently hosted our "Ask Anything Q&A" Webcast in which we answered some much desired questions from our users. The video is now up on YouTube but can be found on all social accounts just by searching @mapsforadobe! 



How do I access third-party data to incorporate into my maps ?


How do I load in-house project data generated by our GIS team ?




 if only a small number of maps/layers you can add/reference them by ArcGIS Online item URL in the Add             Map/Layer dialog:



I'd like to see more vector based maps

There are 2 vector base maps today (Vector Street Map and Natural Earth), we plan to support more in upcoming releases.


How to create maps with higher detail level similar to using open street map (OSM) ?

            We plan on supporting (more) OSM content in the future. Right now, there are 3 OSM layers (in beta mode for             testing) you can try:



Install, Performance & UX:

It's powerful and has been very useful, but can be complicated and intimidating for new users

            We are making updates to UI/UX for the next release which we hope will make the extension easier to use


Provide more stability, seems to runs slow on PC

            There is should not be any difference between running on different OSs (demo was on a PC), however if you are             seeing issues, please reach out to us we’d like to help troubleshoot the issue.


I have problems installing and registering extension

            There sometimes can be install issues if you are using an Adobe Team or Enterprise account login. We are             working with Adobe to resolve this issue. In the meantime, if you do run into any issues please reach out to us to             help to troubleshoot and get it working for you.


Esri’s ArcGIS Platform:

My corporation is moving our GIS/Esri services to on premise (vs. cloud-based/ArcGIS Online), when will this be supported ?

With the current release we only support ArcGIS Online, we do plan to support on-premise deployments in a future release.


Are there plans to build Adobe tools into Esri's platform? Like an Adobe plugin for ArcMap/ArcGIS Pro ?

No, however we plan on supporting reading map exports from ArcGIS Pro in a future release.


Layers, styling & 3D:

Is there any way we can apply styles in one single click ?



Contiguous lines for roads and rivers as opposed to short segments. eg…different levels of roads and rivers

            This varies on the source data layer/contributor. However most can be improved in Illustrator using the Path >             Join based on layer/sub-layer (symbols)

Can we control the fonts (and other styling) on the maps before sync ?

You have limited control over some the styling options in the extension, as most design/aesthetic workflows are best done in Illustrator after the map has been downloaded (sync’ed). You should use the extension to set layers, sub-layers and unique symbols based on data information and attributes - “data visualization” workflows should be the focus inside the extension before sync.


How to you create 3D visualizations with this tool or other Adobe or Esri products ?

            Not specifically with the extension. There are other, more focused 3D applications and tools within Adobe and             Esri for 3D design.




Are there detailed instructions on how to use the extension ?

YouTube Playlist:

Online Doc


What can you do with the extension in Photoshop ?



Is there a student option ?

            No, but there is the “free”/complimentary access that can be used by students


How do I credit Esri/ArcGIS Maps ?

When you sync a map, the data credits (as text) are provided on an artwork layer with the suffix “copyright”


What features are planned for next release ? When will it be available ?

Improved UI/ UX

Tabbed mapboards

Improved icons and layout

Updates to vector street map & Natural Earth maps

New Natural Earth and USGS layers

Open Street Map (beta) layers

Add demographic attributes to exiting data *

Legend (map key) builder

Control layers that sync

Add more than 50 Places

Travel times

Geographic offsets (buffers)


            Next release is planned for the summer of 2019.


Is there a way to merge multiple maps into one ?

You can sync data into Illustrator more than once. If you have complimentary access, you can only do this for the current session of Illustrator. With an ArcGIS Online account, you can “Save the map as part of an Illustrator or Photoshop document for future session modifications.” and sync those changes

The new 1.3.1 release of ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud is now up on the Adobe Exchange. If you have a previous version of the extension installed, it should automatically update to 1.3.1 the next time you login to any of the Adobe Creative Cloud apps or your account. If you've not installed the extension before, go to the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud listing, and click the blue "Free" button in the upper right.


A list of the new features can be found in our doc here: What's New—ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud Help


YouTube video demoing some of the new features: What's New in ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud 1.3 - YouTube 


NOTE: 1.3.1


Fixes the blank panels issues: Panels blank after upgrade to v1.3.0 


Maps for Adobe Team

New update for Maps for Adobe, version 1.2.1 is up on the  Adobe Exchange. Make sure you have the Creative Cloud Desktop App installed and file syncing is turned on, to ensure you stay up with the latest version of the add-on. This minor release has an updated login screen and some additional maintenance improvements.

Having install issues, the Adobe Exchange site has instructions if the auto-install from the website doesn't work. They list three tools you could use. Our experience, and feedback from a number of users is  Anastasiy's Extension Manager works most successfully.


  • When downloaded, the file name is ArcGIS®_Maps_for_Adobe®_Creative_Cloud®_1.2.0.zxp. It maybe require to renamed/removed the "®" characters to ensure a successful install.
  • Note that you may need IT support as Anastasiy's Extension Manager requires an administrator password to be installed. 


We are excited to let you know about the soon-to-be, 1.2 release. This update of the add-on will include the following new features, as per your suggestions and requests:


  • Ability to add KML files
  • Better support for non-English running Adobe applications
  • New Imperial units-based Scale Bar
  • Ability to change the default download/sync location
  • An updated mapboard editing experience; including:
    • quicker access to width, height and scale settings
    • a pick list of Adobe’s preset document sizes
    • the ability to unlock and lock mapboards
    • access to ArcGIS Online and Living Atlas web maps
    • a setting to better honor sizing mapboads based on scale or page size


We are expecting 1.2 to be available on March 5th...via the NEW Adobe Exchange. We are excited about the new Adobe marketplace, as it should resolve previous install issues that some users experienced with the existing Adobe Add-On site. There are many other enhancement features coming as can see some of the details from Adobe on the new Exchange here.


Tune in from Tuesday through Thursday (Jan. 9th-11th) each day at 3 p.m PST to see Sarah Bell present ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud on AdobeLive! 
AdobeLive Link:
The 3 recordings will be posted by Adobe to their YouTube channel, the links to these plus the Q&A from the events can be found below.


Live Vector Art with Sarah Bell from Esri 1 of 3 - YouTube 

Live Vector Art with Sarah Bell from Esri 2 of 3 - YouTube  This one has a good overview of Maps for Adobe at the beginning

Live Vector Art with Sarah Bell from Esri 3 of 3 - YouTube 


Questions and Answers:

What does Esri do?

Esri builds mapping and analytic software to answer location based questions (e.g. Site or store locations, managing utility (power, water) networks, land and resource management, and much more…) and communicates those answers visually through maps (static, web/interactive, 3D, etc.…).


More about Esri and what we do:


What is ArcGIS?

ArcGIS is Esri’s mapping and location analytics platform. ArcGIS is to Esri as Creative Cloud is to Adobe. It’s a collection of software and services.


Learn more:


Check out the Maps We Love!

All of the Maps We Love are all built with Esri technology by our users and/or Esri staff. The site highlights how the maps were made (technology products and steps) and why they are good example of effective cartography.


Explore the collection:


Where do I get ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud Extension?

Here are the steps:

Install from Adobe Add-On/Exchange website

From the Ai or Ps menu, select Windows > Extensions ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud.

Download now:


I’m having issues installing can you help?

Sure! We have a great GeoNet community thread that outlines standard troubleshooting. If you’re still having issues, please feel free to post there and a member of the team ill be there to help.


YouTube: ArcGIS Maps for Adobe® Creative Cloud® - Install and Getting Started (Illustrator) - YouTube 


Install Help:


Trouble installing ArcGIS Adobe CC extension after CC 2018


How do I sign-in to the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Extension?

You have two options for signing in:

  • For free by providing your email address and Esri will send you an activation code which allows you to access public/free data/artwork hosted on Esri’s cloud (ArcGIS Online). This public data is provided by users, partners, and Esri; of course, you can use your own local data as well.
  • Using an ArcGIS Online account (a for-fee Esri account similar to an Adobe Creative Cloud account) which gives you access to more advanced features in the extension with richer data/artwork.

Learn more about ArcGIS Online:


What is the typical (“simplest”) process to make a map?

Navigate (pan and zoom) to the location you want to make a map of, in the mapboard tab/window. Or you can type in a place name or address and have the extension pan and zoom you there. Then draw a box (we call it a mapboard) that defines the size of the map. The geographic extent as well as the output artboard size you want in Ai or Ps.


Next, add map data (artwork layers) to your map inside the compilation tab/window. The extension comes with default base map layers (we call basemaps). You can pick from image maps or vector layer - we recommend our Vector Streets Map (this basemap is great for “zoomed in”/large scale mapping). Or you can add other content from Esri’s cloud (ArcGIS Online) or your own local data (csv, txt or shp files).


Lastly, download (sync) your map into Ai/Ps and design just as you would normally work.


Can you make maps of made up places (“fantasy maps”)?

Not directly, but many fantasy maps are based on real world places (eg. Lord of the Rings is based on the U.K.). So, you could download some of the standard data (artwork) and then

make your modifications and apply your design in Ai/Ps as a starting point, then even change the shape of places and add your own names. There is a map of Mars on the Maps We Love site ( that outlines the steps on how that map was made.


Explore the “Life on Mars” Map:


What are the map credits?

They list the organizations/companies or people that provided the data used to make the map. It is good to give credit back to those organizations as the information provider. It’s encouraged, like in any report (e.g. school paper, presentations, web sites, etc.), to list your references when you are restating/siting/re-purposing someone else’s work.


How would an average creative (non-cartographer) use ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud?

After working and talking with many creatives, here are some of the typical reasons to make a map:

Infographics and Data Visualization 

Storytelling (maps provide the setting for any story)

Sales/Marketing (where something is doing well vs. not)


Design / Engineering / Architecture (CAD)

Product Advertising


Check out our presentation at Adobe MAX about this:


Where can I get more info on ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud and mapping?


Product Page:



Esri Blog:

Adobe Blog:




How to create a bar graph with text?

ArcGIS Pro is another software product Esri make that has the capability to do other types of data visualization graphs (e.g. bar graphs). You can export an SVG file out of ArcGIS Pro and place that into Ai, the bars and text are individual strokes, fills and text you can manipulate inside of Illustrator.


Can you bring in Google Maps data and add that to the other data from the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe extension?

Today you can convert a KML (keyhole markup language) to a shapefile, and add that data (artwork layers) to your map inside the compilation tab/window. We are planning to support a direct add of KML files in our next release.


How long has cartography been around?

Cartography has been around for a very long time. Wikipedia has an excellent background and history page to explore.


Cartography on Wikipedia:


Has satellite imagery killed manual (vector) mapping?

Satellite imagery is great and is a quick way to map a location. However, they don’t allow for stylizing, branding, or feature emphasis. Satellite imagery is image/raster based so there is a need or value for images in some workflows and vectors in others, just like Ai and Ps.


Are there any “best practices” or typical Map (design) “rules”?

Yes, there are design “rules” for making a map, and even college classes. Not unlike any specialized design field (e.g. color, type, website, UI, UX), there are conventions and best practices that the leaders in these fields highlight. The“Cartography.” book, highlights these with  great visual examples and so does the Maps We Love web site.


However, a map, like any design project, is a creative process, and rules are made to be broken sometimes for better more effective communication or to make something stand out from the norm.


“Cartography.” Description:

Explore the Maps We Love:


What’s Geocaching?

There’s an excellent website that outlines exactly what geocaching is. Check it out!

Learn more about geocaching:


Can you control the map projection in ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud?

Yes, if you are logged in using your ArcGIS Online account you can set the projection using the settings button before you download/sync.


Can you make interactive “zoomable” maps?

ArcGIS Maps for Adobe extension is focused on making static image maps inside of Ai or Ps. There are other ArcGIS products that allow for the design and creation of interactive maps.


Explore our Platform:








A new post to our YouTube playlistrecording of a Q&A webcast which followed Esri's "Mapping Your Path to Great Design" presentation at Adobe MAX 2017. This webcast was focused on technical points and demonstrations in an interactive question and answer style session covering topics such as:


- Install & Login

- Complementary login vs. ArcGIS Online access

- Defining Map Extents (mapboards)

- Finding and adding data

- Symbol replacement

- Downloading maps

ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud 1.1 has been released via the Adobe Add-On site. This release includes the following new features:

  • Illustrator and Photoshop CC 2018 install and support
  • Complimentary access using email address
  • Login using enterprise information systems
  • Add and modify existing layer labels
  • Add and modify existing filters (definition queries)
  • New Data options:
    Worldwide large-scale vector content
    Adding local csv and txt files
    Interactively search and add places by name or address (geosearch)
  • Greater level of precision when setting zoom/levels of detail (map scale)


Check out the features: What's New in ArcGIS® Maps for Adobe® Creative Cloud® 1.1 - YouTube 

Hope to see you there...see an overview of the app and maybe a preview of the features coming in the next release. 

Welcome and thanks for joining ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud group on GeoNet! To get started we invite you to first review the group features on the overview page and familiarize yourself with the group info, admins and GeoNet 101 information in the left column.


As you explore the group, you’ll also find tools to connect and collaborate so we encourage you to use them to share files, create blogs, ask/answer questions and read the latest blogs posts and join discussions.


Next, we’d like to get to know you, so we invite you to post a comment below to say “hello" and introduce yourself and share what features you use in the 1.0 release. We are also very interested to hear from you what workflows and features you’d like us to add in future releases.


We’re excited to connect and collaborate with you and we look forward to seeing your contributions.

We are very excited to announce the initial release of ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud!

 With ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud, design and communication professionals have access to data-driven maps right inside Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Quickly find street, political, and physical features, man-made and natural event layers, satellite images, and many more maps. Download your selection directly into Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop as editable vector layer or high-resolution images. Customize your maps so they standout with your branding, your company’s color palette, or your unique cartographic style.

The ArcGIS and Adobe integration opens GIS up to an expanding group of design- and communications-focused users, who can now make direct use of spatial information. Cartographers can have the best of both worlds, too, since they can now work in Adobe and ArcGIS simultaneously.

What you can expect in ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud

ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud 1.0 release supports the following features:

  • Define map extents geographically or by using your Adobe application’s preferences. 
  • Preview and load geographic content from your ArcGIS Online organization directly into Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
  • Access community-contributed content from the Living Atlas of the World.
  • Maintain editable vector artwork layers with descriptive names inside of Illustrator.
  • Produce maps with your design and branding using the familiar Adobe tools.
  • Adding shapefiles
  • Support for Map Projections
  • Support of web map labels to Adobe Illustrator text
  • Custom DPI output of images
  • Scale bar added to map on sync
  • Smart map styling

How to get your copy of ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud


ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud will be available this May via the Adobe Add-ons Marketplace to both Mac and PC users for Adobe Photoshop version 16.1 and newer and Adobe Illustrator version 19.2 and newer.

User’s with an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription can download and use the full version of the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud app at no additional cost with any ArcGIS Online Level 2 account. For most Beta 2 users, ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud will automatically update and will be available to you immediately upon release. If you’re a current Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber but you don’t have an ArcGIS Online subscription, you can sign up for a free trial.

For additional information about ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud, please refer to the following resources: