Advice on exporting map elements to Illustrator

03-14-2011 02:34 PM
New Contributor
Hi everyone,

I am fairly new to GIS and am in need of some assistance. Right now I am helping the organization that I work for to create maps using ArcEditor. We have a graphic designer who is making the maps look more visually pleasing. I export the GIS files to illustrator and she takes it from there. Unfortunately I don't know illustrator and she doesn't know GIS. Not an ideal situation, but there you have it.

There are two map elements that I seem to be unable to export to illustrator files: an extent rectangle and the scale bar.

Can any of you offer assistance as to how to do this?


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Occasional Contributor III
Hello! From Arc's layout window, File => Export => file type AI should yield a scale and an extent indicator map in perfect vector format on their own Illustrator layers.  It worked on my end.  But, if you can't get that to work, consider the "Arc/Illy Cheat:"

Export the Arc layout as a pdf, and add it to an Illustrator layer called "Arc pdf."  In Illustrator,  lock "Arc pdf," then use Illustrator's tools to draw a more attractive scale on a separate, unlocked "Scale" layer.  This retains scale accuracy, but addresses the aesthetic issue.  Secondly, your extent indicator: I don't know why it doesn't work for you, but a workaround would be to generate an mxd which contains only those elements in the extent indicator window.  Export that mxd by itself, and give it to the Illustrator coworker, who can scale it inside Illustrator to meet his/her needs.  Also note that depending on the intricacy of the extent indicator map, it might be quite simple for the Illustrator person to digitize the extent manually.
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