First create the graphic for your new symbol. Use Ortelius’ flexible graphics tools* to create a scalable vector graphic. Alternatively, add an existing graphic or image from the Image Browser by dragging it onto the Ortelius canvas. Group the objects as necessary. Click onto the graphic or image to select it.
With the object selected, choose Edit > Create Symbol from the main menu, or click the Create Symbol icon from the toolbar (note, the Create Symbol icon is not in the toolbar by default and can be added by customizing the toolbar). The symbol is automatically added to the Library Manager in My Library. If no collections are available in My Library, a new collection called “My Symbols” will be added for the new symbol to be assigned. The symbol is available immediately from the Symbols Palette. A dialog appears for you to name your new symbol and apply settings. Drag the symbol to a new category and/or collection to organize your collections as desired.
*New symbols cannot include existing symbols or track objects.
New Symbol Dialog
Name your new symbol. As desired, add a brief description for the symbol.
HINT: To make your symbols easier to use, include a brief description. The description will appear in the Object Inspector and in the Library Manager information window when a symbol is selected.
“Sequenceable” indicates the symbol will obtain automatic numbering as it is placed on a layer. This is required for special symbols such as Sequence Markers and unnecessary for most symbols. As most symbols do not need to be sequenceable, it is unchecked by default.
“Auto-detach when placed” enables saving ordinary graphics in the Library for special circumstances. When a symbol is placed on your map with the Symbol Stamp tool it is related, or attached, to its master symbol. If auto-detach is enabled, when the symbol is placed it is detached from its master and placed as an ordinary graphic. This can be useful for graphic elements, such as legends that you will want to edit after placement, but is not typical behavior for most symbols. The default setting is unchecked for Auto-detach symbol. For most symbols, keep the default setting.
“Copy Styles” will use copies of all styles used in the source graphic. The default setting is checked for “Copy Styles.” Therefore if underlying styles used in the original graphic are later changed, your symbol won’t be changed accidentally. For most symbols, keep the default setting checked.
Click “Done” to complete the process.
Creating Symbols From True Type Fonts
The character images, or “glyphs,” from True Type Fonts (TTF) can be converted to map symbols. To create symbols, the TTF must first be converted into individual shape objects.
1. Place TTF glyphs in the map area using the Text Box tool. Select the font with the TTF you want to use, or choose Edit > Special Characters from the main menu to open the Special Characters window.
2. After typing one or more TTF glyphs, right-click the text box and choose Graphic > Convert To > Shape Group from the main menu (or right click and choose Convert to Shape Group) then Ungroup to obtain each glyph as a separate object.
3. To further explode and modify multi-layered objects, choose Graphic > Combine > Break Apart from the main menu and modify the style or re-color individual components. Regroup before creating as new symbol.
3. Select the shape(s) and choose Edit > Create Symbol from the main menu.
Creating Multiple New Symbols in One Session
If you have many objects to create new symbols from, select all the objects and click New Symbol. In the Create Symbol dialog, name the first symbol and add a description. Next, use the advance button to advance to the next symbol and repeat until all symbols have been added. Click “Create” to create the symbols and end the session.
You can review all the settings for the selected objects by navigating through them using the arrowed buttons.
Double-clicking a symbol in the Library Manager icon view opens the Create Symbol dialog.
Creating Custom Sequence Markers
Sequence markers can be made from any shape, for example a circle or square, that has been styled to include the “%%ortl_sequence_number” text adornment tag and enabling the sequnceable setting when turned into a symbol using the Edit > Create Symbol command.
After drawing a shape, use the Style Inspector to define the style. Sequence markers rely on a special style component tag for Text Adornments when the style is defined. Choosing the tag “Sequence Number” from the drop-down list automatically adds the text adornment tag “%%ortl_sequence_number“.
Related topic: Using the Style Inspector
HINT: If needed to view the number while you adjust its style, type a number into the content well to temporarily see the number while applying text properties, such as color, font size, and positioning. When you are satisfied with how it looks, replace the number with the “%%ortl_sequence_number” tag.
With your new marker selected, choose Edit > Create Symbol from the main menu to turn it into a symbol marker.
IMPORTANT: Make sure the “Sequenceable” option is checked in the Create Symbol dialog. As desired, choose the default initial sequence kind (for example, numeric or alphabetic) for your new marker.
Click “Done” to finish.
Your new sequence marker is now available from the Symbols Palette for use with the Symbol Stamp tool and will be automatically numbered when placed.
Much like Sequence Markers, Shields can be made from any shape, for example a circle or square, that has been styled to include the “%%route_num” text adornment tag and turned into a symbol using the Edit > Create Symbol command.
After drawing a shape, use the Style Inspector to define the style. Shields rely on a special style component tag for Text Adornments when the style is defined. Choosing the tag “Route Number” from the drop-down list automatically adds the text adornment tag “%%route_num“.
With your new shield selected, choose Edit > Create Symbol from the main menu to turn it into a symbol. Name it and add it to the category(s) of your choice.
Click “Create” to add it to the Library.
Your new shield is now available from the Symbols Palette for use with the Symbol Stamp tool and will automatically adopt route numbers when placed on tracks with the Route_Num attribute. To add route numbers to tracks, use the Object Inspector – Attribute Pane and add the attribute “Route Number” and edit the values.…