Centered EMF symbol creation

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10-29-2012 03:17 PM
RichardFairhurst
MVP Honored Contributor
I am trying to create EMF symbols using Adobe Illustrator.  The symbols represent collision types and predominantly use an arrow symbol to represent a vehicle's travel direction.  I need these symbols to have a transparent background but still maintain the arrowhead point fixed on the center of the symbol.  When two arrows are aligned end-to-end the center is preserved where I want it.  When I create a single arrow with the arrow point centered in the drawing in Illustrator, the symbol recenters in ArcMap so that the center occurs within the arrow shaft.

If I make a bounding box outline that is transparent in Illustrator to preserve the symbol center, the transparent box gets removed when I save the EMF file and the symbol recenters.

Does anybody know how to get the EMF file to maintain a fixed center point?  Is there any Illustrator setting that can do this or a freeware program that preserves the EMF symbol position relative to the initial drawing dimensions?
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RichardFairhurst
MVP Honored Contributor
I think it used to be you could tell Illustrator to export the entire artboard (but I could be mis-remembering). The option to Use Artboards is not enabled when exporting to emf (and some other formats) in AI6.

You might try bringing your emf into an Arcmap layout with no other elements - there will be a data frame which you can't remove, so make sure its frame is set to none so it's not visible. And set the page size to what you want to finished emf's size to be. Position your emf so it's centered the way you want. Then export that "map" to emf from ArcMap, and make sure you have Clip Output to Graphics Extent turned off.


I do have AI6, so I am affected by the inability to export the Artboard.

For your alternative method, how do I bring my emf file into ArcMap?  The Add Data dialog does not recognize the emf file directly.  Do I have to first open a point layer and assign the symbol to one of the points to try this method?

Thanks.

Never mind.  I was in Data view and realized your instructions said I need to be in Layout view and use the Insert Picture menu.
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RichardFairhurst
MVP Honored Contributor
The ArcMap based method does seem to preserve the center of the symbol where I want it without adding any unwanted artifacts when I export to emf files.

I now will have to look at transfering the symbol configuration steps into ArcMap using the drawing tools, since I need to arrange the core symbols into possibhly up to 1,150 configurations (using at least 8 different arrow designs and 5 non-vehicle symbols used as singletons or in a paired combination with day/night and orientation variants).  The base symbols are reasonably simple and I should be able to import them from AI from the base emf files I have made.

Thanks for making me aware of ArcMap's emf export capabilities.

Just another note for anyone wanting to do this.  The Data Frame does need to contain one layer where all of the layer features are positioned outside of the bounds of the Data Frame so that they are not visible.  This is necessary to get rid of the label in the center of the empty Data Frame that says "Layers", which only disappears when the Data Frame actually contains at least one layer.
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RichardFairhurst
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Glad I could help. :)

One more thing about the data frame. If you move it entirely off of the page in the layout it won't be included in the exported emf, so you won't have to have any data in it to get rid of the "label". :) The reason that works is it exports the page extent regardless of what's visible if you have the option "Clip to Graphics Extent" unchecked. If you have that option checked it exports everything that is visible, whether it's inside or outside the page.


Got it.  I will move the Data Frame out of the way, since that makes it easier to select and manipulate the symbols I want to change within the page boundaries without having to concern myself with the Data Frame.  Thanks.
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