ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud Blog

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(35 Posts)
Esri Contributor

A new release (version 2.2) for ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud is now available. Download it from here or get the latest update directly from the extension. This release includes a new capability to the AIX workflow, geospatially enabled AIX.  Check out Sarah's blog post for more information about this new feature. The new release supports the latest Adobe CC 2021 applications. 

We encourage you to download this update. Please continue the conversations on our forums or contact Esri Technical Support if you encounter any issues. You can also post ideas on the ArcGIS Ideas site.  ArcGIS Ideas is a good way for you to get involved in making our application better. 

Thank you,

ArcGIS Maps for Adobe team.

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Occasional Contributor II

With the 2021 updates to Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, 3rd party extensions panels like the ones you use with ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud i.e. Sign - in, Mapboard or Compilation may some times appear to be cut or non responsive. Adobe is working with extension makers like us to figure out this issue. With Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud this behavior is observed on Mac OS devices connected to a second display monitor. Some of you might have a similar setup. It typically manifests itself when doing one of the following actions -

  • When singing in, if the sign – in screen is dragged from one display monitor to another.

  • When Mapboards and Compilation panels are open and if the workspace is changed. 

  • When using extension with the home screen on and a new mapboard is downloaded or any document is opened.


Use this workaround while the issue gets addressed. We highly recommend Mac OS users to setup their extension and host app preferences to avoid running into this problem. Please note following 2 settings to use - 

  1. When signing in into the extension Turn ON the "Keep me signed in" checkbox to reduce the amount of interaction with the sign-in screen.

  2. In your host apps preferences - Illustrator or Photoshop - Turn OFF the "Show The Home Screen When No Documents are Open". This setting is under "General" preferences.

Note: You may need to restart the host app if extension was already in this state. 

For detailed information on the issue please see this Adobe CEP resource linkWith these workarounds in place you will be able to continue using Maps for Adobe CC normally. See this to learn about the new features compatible with your 2021 Adobe apps. 

Thank you. 

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Occasional Contributor II

A new release for ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud is now available. Download version 2.1 here or get the latest update directly from the extension. This release includes workflow and user interface improvements and fixes key issues reported by the Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud user community. 

Key improvements include:

Key issues addressed include:

  • Missing artwork in vector tile layers and basemaps when importing an AIX file.
  • Creating mapboards with large format Illustrator units (such as yards).
  • Errors downloading certain imagery layers from ArcGIS Online.

We encourage you download this update. Please continue the conversations on our forums or contact Esri Technical Supportif you encounter any issues.

Thank you,

ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud team.

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Occasional Contributor II

First, a big thanks! to all who joined live for the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud webinar on "Time Saving Cartography tools". Here is a recording in case you missed it.

A quick recap – during the webinar we demonstrated 2 main workflows for working with maps in graphics applications using the maps for adobe extension – 1) Exporting a map from ArcGIS Pro and using it with the extension in Illustrator & 2) Directly consuming content from ArcGIS Online to download it as artwork. Both workflows enable creation of compelling map visuals with graphic design tools. The presenters and organizers appreciate the enthusiastic attendance and questions asked during the webinar. We received a total of 94 questions – ranging from general information to some workflow specific questions. In this blog we attempt to answer some key questions. For brevity, a representative sample of similar questions was selected and is listed below (in italic).


Workflow 1 - Exporting a map from ArcGIS Pro and using it with the extension in Illustrator

" A lot of these functions seem pretty similar to what you can do in arcmap (and pro). What are the distinct advantages to using this tool?" "Are there any limitations using Maps for Adobe with Adobe Illustrator on MacOS X?"  "Is there a workaround option if internet connection is not available?"

Answer: A quick overview of how the extension can be used might help here. ArcGIS Pro and Online are professional GIS application used to create compelling maps and reports using spatial information. Adobe's graphic design application like Illustrator is a standard tool frequently used by creatives all-over to create beautiful visuals and info graphics. Maps are infographics too! So, as a cartographer or as a designer with a need to make stunning maps, or as an organization that leverages both these technologies to do your business, the ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud extension helps bridge a connection between spatial GIS platform & the design tools. It comes included with ArcGIS Online Creator and GIS Professional user types and being an extension inside the Adobes design apps it works natively on both Windows and Mac OS. For the best experience with the extension internet connection is recommended and is required for initially getting started with the extension. When you sign in you have an option to "Keep me logged in", which allows you to open locally exported ArcGIS Pro AIX files but the rest of the capabilities in the extension will not be available without internet.


"Is the AIX layer a ‘live map’ or limited to the extents exported from Pro?" "Can you add a layer from a geodatabase?" "Can ArcGIS Online maps be exported as AIX?" "Can we import 3D map layout from Arcgis pro?"

Answer: The Adobe Illustrator Exchange (AIX) export format in ArcGIS Pro exports a map or layout as a snapshot. It is most useful for a static map workflow. Many different types of data including feature classes, shapefiles, layers from ArcGIS online can be used in ArcGIS Pro when authoring a map. When exported to the AIX format, the map and all its content, this including raster and vector is converted to layered artwork that can be post processed and edited in graphic applications. Note raster layers in a map are converted to images. Once in Illustrator save the map as a .ai file and then style & edit or further integrated into other Adobe applications like Adobe Photoshop, InDesign or After Effects. Regarding editing, you can modify typography, appearances and layering using Illustrator’s editing tools & workflow. Since these are graphics, an edit made to a feature in Illustrator does not reflect in your GIS. Similarly, if there are updates to features in ArcGIS Pro the map or layer should be re-exported to re-enter the graphics workflow. At this time 3D maps are exported as flattened image layers and not well suited for a post processing workflow in graphics applications.


“Can they speak about the optimal export settings to use for the AIX file? Compressions settings, res, raster resample, etc.?” “How do I export in CMYK?" "Does curved type export as individual letters?" "Just wanted to know if the text imported from the AIX map can be edited with your own fonts?"

Answer: Most layer types and authoring options are supported with the AIX file. AIX is best suited when there is need to edit the maps appearance in Illustrator. For this reason, its best to consider authoring options that preserve the layers and contents of the map for optimum graphic editability. See this help topic for a complete list of map authoring recommendation to preserve editability. Currently unique type, classed renderers, horizontal and curved labels are well suited for editability. However unclassed renderers, vertical labels, halos and text outline, advanced maplex placements, patterned symbols are not well suited. With future releases of this integration we plan to continue adding support to more rendering and labelling options. It’s important to consider the final map requirement and editing needs when authoring & exporting a map from ArcGIS Pro. These include whether the map is for screen or print, the size of the output. It will help determine final output resolution and need for embedding color space etc. to ensure continuity while editing in Illustrator. For instance, if the final map is for print, you should explicitly set the color space by ensuring your map or layout is using the proper color management prior to exporting.


“How does this compare to exporting from ArcMap?” “Are representations from ArcMap supported in this workflow?”

Answer: ArcGIS Pro is Esri’s next-gen desktop GIS application. In addition to being performant on modern hardware, the ArcGIS Pro export process alleviates many limitations that were experienced with ArcMap. For instance, better support for transparencies and ability to export multiple image layers without flattening the map is possible with ArcGIS Pro. ArcGIS Pro support rendering or viewing representations in a map or layout. Hence, it’s also possible to export them as graphics via the AIX workflow. The AIX export workflow aims to make graphic design of maps in Adobe Illustrator easy and efficient - we continue to look of suggestion for improvement. See resources at the end of this blog to make suggestions for improvement.


Workflow 2 - Directly consuming content from ArcGIS Online (in-extension) to sync as artwork

“Can you use ArcGIS for Adobe, if you do not have ArcGIS Pro installed?” “When logging in to Adobe Illustrator are there limitations by ArcGIS Online user type for the AIX extension?” “Can you connect to your organization's secured AGOL  with the enterprise login?”

Answer: ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud extension can be used without ArcGIS Pro. It is included with an ArcGIS Online Creator or GIS Professional usertype (separate download and install is needed). ArcGIS Online users that use their organizations enterprise logins can also use this extension as long as your enterprise ID is associated with a Creator or GIS Professional user type in ArcGIS Online. Once installed it can be found in the “Extension” menu of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. This level of access grants full access to all features in the extension including the integration with ArcGIS Pro AIX files. For a detail functionality matrix and terms of usage see this.


“Just confirming, local data can be added to a map board right?” “Is there a way of styling the basemap into a corporate defined style that can be pulled in via the Extension?” “Can you add data to the compilation window from ArcGIS Enterprise?” “When adding layer and you added the street map, what was the meaning of the orange logo next to the name? Does that mean it's vector or commercial or ....?” “Can the data features attributes and tables be edited?”

Answer: The in-app extension workflow lets you to directly pull geographic data into Illustrator or Photoshop for graphic design. You can create a map extent or mapboard sized based on your composition needs and add spatial content – from your organization or ArcGIS online libraries like the Living Atlas of the World. You can also upload data from your local machine. Use the extension to add shapefiles (as compressed .zip), CSV and TXT files, KML and KMZ files, and GPX files from your local disk. See this help topic for more info. Additionally, the extension includes two vector based basemaps (with orange logo) - vector street map and natural earth, that can be used as a basemap or layer. Since they are vector, you can completely restyle the appearance of the map after downloading - by using colors and text fonts to match your organizational branding. Note these basemaps are not vector tile layers, currently the in-app extension workflow does not support vector tile layers. However, it is supported in ArcGIS Pro AIX workflow and will be support in the in-app workflow in future releases. After the content is added you can explore and use the attributes of the data to visualize or add labels if needed, prior to syncing or downloading. The extension cannot make modification to the hosted content directly - either shape or attribute modifications. If using ArcGIS Online named user, you can save a map compilation in the extension as a webmap and then use ArcGIS Online workflow for any modifications.


“Are you able to change the colors of the symbols once they're already added into the map?” “Are you able to label the places once they are added to your map?” “Can you change the map projection? Question: how many coordinate systems/projections are supported?”

Answer: It’s worth reiterating the best use for the extension is to gather the data you need for your map design project. As previously mentioned, a variety of data sources are supported in the extension. As a part of gathering data in the extension you can also visualize it based on data’s attributes. So similar features in a dataset can be grouped by same color. For instance, a road dataset can be visualized by type of paved categories - paved, unpaved, dirt, gravel etc. To do this change a layers style and select an appropriate attribute in the compilation window. However, this visualization is data gathering and organizing and not applying your design esthetics. The latter is better done using design tools in Illustrator or Photoshop. The organization of layers in the compilation window is retained when the maps is synced as artwork, allowing you to easily and efficiently edit the appearance in a graphic design workflow after. Once synced, you cannot make changes such as scale, extent, or projection. You can apply almost all well-known projections in the extension using the current map settings. See more about updating layers.


“I created a Mapboard now and sync the area, then later, maybe 2-3 years down the line, I need to capture the exact same Mapboard location, is there an option for that?” “If your GIS data changes, how can you incorporate that upate into Illustrator?”

Answer: Once synced, you cannot make changes such as scale, extent, or projection, so, it’s important to consider doing this before you sync. After the sync, you can continue to add new content or even update an existing layer and re-sync it. Furthermore, as ArcGIS Online or Plus user you can return to this synced file later and use the same map extent to add new content or resync content that might have updated over time. A subsequent sync’s will not overwrite a styled layer, instead creates a new layer and adds the artwork to it. All new layers and objects created with the extension including processes such as Map Legend tool generate artwork which can be edited and modified to meet your design needs.


We sincerely appreciate your participation and enthusiasm in learning more about ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud. As we continue to explore new topics for our next webinar and ways to improve the extensions capabilities, we would love to hear your feedback and ideas. Here are some resources for you to explore on your own - checkout our learning pathways and see maps made by our community. More information is also available on our website.



Maps for Adobe Team


PS: Link to the Tall trees font used in the AIX demo that a lot of you asked about

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New Contributor III

Here's your compass for navigating your way to all things Maps for Adobe @ Esri UC 2020: View the Maps for Adobe StoryMap to plan your UC. 

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Esri Contributor

ArcGIS Maps for Adobe now has a category on ArcGIS Ideas site.  You can post ideas there.  You can also vote for other ideas by either “promoting” or “demoting them and leave comments on the ideas. The new Maps for Adobe category on ArcGIS Ideas is a good way for you to get involved in making our application better. Ask for enhancements and suggest new features or tools that can be incorporated into future releases. For more information on how to craft an excellent idea, please go to the Kory's blog.

Thank you,  

Maps for Adobe team 

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Occasional Contributor II

As you may have heard, ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud version 2 is now available to download from our website. 

The latest update includes features like the ArcGIS Pro - Adobe Illustrator integration and fixes for issues reported by the user community. We highly recommend staying current with the latest updates to make the most of your experienceIf you have never installed the extension before and are doing this for the first time simply download and launch the installer appropriate for your operating system from link above and follow install wizard to setup your Maps for Adobe.

This blog is useful to those that have previously installed Maps for Adobe and are ready to update to the latest.


      First, check what version is installed: 

      You may have already updated using the Maps for Adobe in-app update notification. To confirm, in Adobe Illustrator       or Adobe Photoshop, you can find the version information in one of two places described in the steps below.  

      Bottom right corner of the Sign in dialog 

Or i
n the Mapboard OR Compilation panel under the panel menu (burger button) > Help 

If your version is 2.0.0 or greater then you are all set!!  Enjoy the latest features.  

     If not, following steps will guide you to update to the latest. Before updating, quit any open instances of Illustrator and      Photoshop. 


     Checking install state in My Exchange:

     The latest versions are only available on the Maps for Adobe website, so its not possible to update using Adobe       Exchange.  

  1. Ensure that the extension is not set up to sync via Adobe Exchange - Sign into your Adobe Exchange account. 
  2. Browse to My Exchange, locate the listing for ArcGIS Maps for Adobe in your My Exchange
    1. If not listed or not installed, Skip the next few steps and go directly to "Updating via in-app notification".
    2. If listed and installed, click “Uninstall”  
      Note: This action will uninstall the extension from your machine, and you will receive a notification in your Creative Cloud desktop app. 
  3. Once you uninstall from My exchange, download the appropriate installer from the Maps for Adobe product page.  
  4. Start the installation and follow on-screen instructions
    Note: If you are not an administrator on your local Windows machine, you can install the extension just for yourself. 
  5. Open Illustrator and re-check the version number. 
    If your version is 2.0.0 or greater then you are all set!!  Enjoy the latest features. 


      Updating via in-app upgrade notification:   

       Follow these steps if you currently have an older version of the extension currently installed. 

  1. Open the extension in Illustrator or Photoshop and sign in using your usual method.   
  2. In the Mapboard window an update notification should immediately pop up. If it does not, expand the Panel menu, choose :Check for updates". 
  3. Use the upgrade button and follow the on-screen instructions to upgrade to the latest. 
  4. Open Illustrator and re-check the version number.
    If your version is 2.0.0 or greater then you are all set!!  Enjoy the latest features. 


If you experience any issues with the extension after updating, reach out to us here on Geonet or contact Esri Technical Support 


Thank you & stay safe.  



Maps for Adobe team 


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Occasional Contributor

The ArcGIS Maps for Adobe® team announced its first mapping competition in February 2020. We are pleased to announce that this competition was a great success! Many mapmakers from all over the world participated. The amount, quality, and diversity of the maps that were submitted were incredible, and of these fantastic maps our panel of judges has determined the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners from the multitude of amazing maps. Due to the success of this first competition, we hope to make it an annual event. Follow Maps for Adobe to learn more about this competition and other exciting announcements regarding this mapping tool.


The rules for participating were kept very broad, which resulted in a wide variety of creative mapping approaches from participants. The one main criteria that participants needed to follow is that the map had to be created using Maps for Adobe as the designer's primary map-making tool. Each participant could submit up to two (2) maps. For a full list of rules, visit the competition announcement

First Place

Where might I see the Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo? by Katelin Volkanovski

Map by Katelin Volkanovski

First place winner comes from Australia! Katelin Volkanovski's map depicting the distribution of the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo incorporates graphic design by illustrating the bird for which this map is created along with whimsical waves in the across the ocean. Katelin integrated the same yellow hue of her wonderfully designed birds to show the species' range on the map. Here is what Katelin had to say about the subject in her map:

Australia's Black Cockatoo populations have faced a dramatic decline, and are now a threatened species. This map focuses on the distribution of one of the six Black Cockatoo varieties, the Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoo.

Second Place

Daffodils and Homesites of the Eno River by Madalyn Baldwin

This gorgeous map by Madalyn Baldwin highlights the connection humans have to their landscapes through the tender act of planting flowers. This map's creative topographic design, minimal clean design are among the many reasons this map is among the top three. Of this map, Madalyn writes: 

Between the 1750s and the early 1900s, many mills and homes were sited along the Eno River in the piedmont of North Carolina. Today, much of the land surrounding the Eno is conserved as the Eno River State Park, with close to 30 miles of publicly accessible hiking trails. While remnants of some of the historic structures are still visible, in most cases these sites have disappeared into the landscape. But every spring, for a couple of weeks, the history of this river is revealed with vibrant yellow blankets of daffodils. In most cases, the first bulbs were planted by the original homeowners, and over the past 100 - 200 years, the flowers have naturalized and spread, persisting as memories of the people who settled along this river. The daffodils and architectural remnants each tell a unique story of home and garden.

Map by Madalyn Baldwin


Third Place (3-mapper-tie!)

Kananaskis Overview Map by Ian Ladd

Congratulations to Calgary-based cartographer Ian Ladd for this wonderfully designed overview map of Kananaskis, a beautiful wild area located in Alberta, Canada. Evident in Ian's map, Kananaskis is a glaciated mountainous region where visitors may camp, hike, and ski among many other recreational activities. Ian says of this map:

I have been making maps since I was 6 years old, its my passion, hobby, and career. This map is a simple overview map of an area I spend a lot of time skiing, biking, hiking, and exploring! I wanted to really learn ArcGIS Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud and used this as a learning exercise.

Map by Ian Ladd

Arkansas by Noah Walker

This delightfully minimalist monochrome map of Arkansas comes from Noah Walker. Noah chose to illustrate the topography of the western side of his state with simple effective graphic design.The smart label hierarchy is effective, drawing the reader throughout this wonderful map. Noah writes:

A stylized map of the state of Arkansas, my home state, using the old abbreviation format. Designed to showcase the major rivers and mountain ranges of the natural state, as well as major cities. Also depicts the highest elevation in the state, and the location of Hot Springs National Park.

Map by Noah Walker

Kayak Launches in Eastern Talbot County, Maryland by Andrew Bernish

Talented cartographer Andrew Bernish submitted this colorful map of the kayak launches in Eastern Talbot county. The inspiration for Andrew's vibrant design comes from his family. Andrew describes this inspiration below:

I have two small children (ages 2 and 5) and they like to get out in our kayak. I started looking for more public kayak launches near our home in Easton and realized that our county is one of the best places for kayaking. I was inspired to create this map with an eye for my kids as it will hang in their shared bedroom. I used a kids' palette of colors and fonts.

Map by Andrew Bernish

Honorable Mentions

The number of participants was much greater that we expected, and for this reason next year's competition will have categories by which the maps can be organized. This year we only were able to choose three among the many amazing maps. Below are some wonderful submissions that we have to show off. 

Puffin breeding habitat throughout the year by Emma Lidbury

Emma Lidbury's map design is always a delight! This map focusing on the locations where Puffins breed is no exception. The simple effective color choice along with the clever postage design elements draw map readers in to learn more about the subject. 

Map by Emma Lidbury

London by Mitch Kazuk

Another talented mapmaker, Mitch Kazuk submitted this map of the greater London area. This lovely map uses an effective label heirarchy to highlight some of the places that are significant to Mitch, and that gorgeous muted blue to show off the River Thames.

Map by Mitch Kazuk

I-10 Closure Map by Andrew Pham

It is clear that Andrew Pham is accustomed to providing information in the form of map- and graphic design. This map has a clean look, effectively informing its readers where to expect upcoming road closures. 

Map by Andrew Pham

I-10 Projects Map by Lalé Moradpour

Caltrans clearly has a staff of talented designers; Our final honorable mention is another from this transportation agency. This map shows a one-lane bridge structure proposal with projects segments symbolized by a yellow-to-red gradient. Lalé Moradpour has chosen to design the base as a sleek dark tone, which allows for the project colors to pop.

Map by Lalé Moradpour

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Esri Contributor

The update is available now on the Esri website. This patch addresses the following issues:

- Extension doesn't load after upgrade from old versions installed via Adobe Exchange or third-party tools.

- Split text on some curved labels after processing AIX file

- Layout title disappears after processing AIX file


Thank you. 

Maps for Adobe CC team. 

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