Auto Populate Symbology when Importing a Shapefile

09-05-2013 12:35 PM
New Contributor
Does anyone know how to auto-populate symbology when importing a shapefile?

I often make a polygon shapefile in a different program, then import into ArcMap.

As the shapfile is always called the same thing, and I always want to symbolize the polygon the same way, which is off of the radius distance attribute, I want to know if there is there a way to set ArcMap up to automatically match the name of the file to the custom markers I have created using the style manager?

I'm not sure if I explained that properly, so let me know if i need to go into more detail, etc.

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Frequent Contributor
Good morning,

Here is what you can if you use the same MXD:

Lets say in the MXD your file is called "buffer" and it has the symbology you like and it needs to be replaced. Instead of deleting it, right click the buffer layer -> "Properties..." in your table of contents and go to the "Source" Tab. Now click on "Set Data Source..." and navigate to your new data. Now you will have the newest data for your buffer layer with the same symbols.

If you need the older layer in your MXD, just copy and paste it in the same MXD and do the steps outlined here with the copy layer.

Let me know if that helps!

As a side note, can you please build a Fresh Market in the Melbourne FL area!

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Frequent Contributor
I can think of several options off the top of my head.

1. Tim's suggestion.
2. Save your symbology as a layer file.  Then in Layer Properties - Symbology use the Import button to import that layer symbology.
3. Alternately you can copy your old layer properly symbologized into your project, then import its symbology to your new one and then remove the old one.
4. Add the different symbols to your individual style so that the symbol name matches the field value.  Then when you add your shapefile in Layer Properties - Symbology - Categories choose Match symbols in a style and in the drop down select the field to be used.
5. If you can simply replace your old shapefile with the new one of the same name wherever it is stored, and then open the project.
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