Creating New Symbols

Graphics, images, and text can be used to create new symbols. Symbols cannot contain other symbols, nor can they contain tracks. A graphic containing multiple objects must be grouped before turning into a symbol.

To Save Your Own Custom Symbols to the Library Manager:

Any graphic you draw can be saved as your own symbols in Ortelius. If your graphic is made up of two or more objects, those objects must be grouped if it is to be saved as a single symbol. Saved items are managed in the Library Manager under “My Library” and can be renamed, categorized, locked for editing, and more.

  1. Create your graphic(s) and group the objects as necessary.
  2. Select one or more separate graphics (each separate object or group will be added as an individual symbol).
  3. Do one of the following:
  • Choose Graphic > Add Symbols to Library from the main menu.
  • If available, click the Add Symbol icon from the toolbar (note, the Add Symbol icon can be added to the toolbar by customizing the toolbar).
  • Use the CMND-Y keyboard shortcut.

4. In the symbol’s Save As dialog, you have the option to name your symbol, add an optional description, make symbols auto-detach from their symbol master when placed (treat as standard graphics rather than symbols), sequnceable, locked, and scale. If adding multiple symbols, you can cycle through these settings for each symbol at this time.
5. Click ‘Done’. The symbol(s) are available immediately under “My Library” from the Styles & Symbols Palette.

HINT: To access the symbol Save As dialog later, right-click a symbol in the Library Manager and choose ‘Edit…’ from the contextual menu.

About the Symbol ‘Save As’ Dialog:

About_the_Symbol__Save_As__Dialog.png
  1. Name your new symbol. As desired, add a brief description for the symbol.
  2. The following settings are available::
  • AUTO-DETACH WHEN PLACED – Enables saving ordinary graphics in the Library to be used as clip art. When auto-detach is enabled, when the symbol is detached from its master when it is placed in your drawing. This is useful for graphic elements, such as legends that you will want to edit after placement, but is not typical behavior for map symbols. The default setting is unchecked for Auto-detach symbol. For most symbols, keep the default setting.
  • SEQUENCABLE – Indicates the symbol can obtain automatic numbering as it is placed on a layer (choose a numbering method from the drop-down list). This is required for special symbols such as Sequence Markers and unnecessary for most other symbols. It is unchecked by default.
  • LOCKED – Symbols cannot be edited without being unlocked first. It is unchecked by default.
  • INITIAL SCALE – Assigns a scaling value which is applied to each symbol instance initially. When a symbol is stamped, this value multiplied by the document pre-scale value is used to set the initial scale value of the symbol. Scaling changes are not applied retroactively to previously placed symbols. The default value is 100%.

3. Click “Done” to complete the process.

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.

To Create Multiple New Symbols in One Session:

  1. Choose the Select [s] tool and select all the objects to become new symbols.
  2. Do one of the following:
  • Choose Graphic > Add Symbols to Library from the main menu.
  • If available, click the Add Symbol icon from the toolbar (note, the Add Symbol icon can be added to the toolbar by customizing the toolbar).
  • Use the CMND-Y keyboard shortcut.

3. In the Create Symbol dialog, name and edit the settings for the first symbol.
4. Use the advance button to advance to the next symbol and repeat until all symbols have been added. You can review all the settings for the selected objects by navigating through them using the arrowed buttons.
5. Click “Done” to complete the process.

HINT: Click “Apply to all” to apply your selected settings to all the symbols.

To Define a Symbol Label Template:

To_Define_a_Symbol_Label_Template.png

All symbols that are placed on your map can accept labels, and the style of a symbol’s label can be pre-defined with a label template. Unless otherwise defined, default symbol labels are rendered with Helvetica font and sized proportionately to the size of the symbol.

Define a custom label template before an object is turned into a symbol – labels use the underlying style from a Label Adornment as a template.

  1. Select the object that will become the symbol. If your graphic is comprised of a group of objects, ungroup and select a shape to apply a Label Adornment to the object’s style (preferably the top-most shape).
  2. With the object still selected, open the Style Inspector and click ‘Reset’ or ‘Clone’ to create a new style.
  3. Press the ‘+’ button, and choose ‘Label’ from the drop-down menu ‘Adornment’ section.
  4. Do one of the following:
  • If you have a shape object to receive the label, choose ‘Flow text into object’s rectangle’ from the ‘Layout’ drop-down menu.
  • If you have a path object to receive the label, choose ‘Along object’s path’ from the ‘Layout’ drop-down menu.
  • Choose another option (such as ‘Along reverse path’) from the ‘Layout’ drop-down menu as desired.

5. Adjust the remaining style component properties as desired.
6. The default text label reads “Text Adornment”, is displayed as entered, and can be left blank. Alternatively, a look-up ‘tag’ can be applied that will look up the label value according to any object attributes that may exist (as defined in the Object Inspector – Attributes pane). To define the content of a label, do one of the following:

  • Select the text in the text-well for editing and begin typing – when a text label is added to an object the label is displayed as entered.
  • Select the text in the text-well for editing and delete it – when a text label is added to an object the label is displayed as “Label” and can be edited directly on the object with a double-click.
  • Select the text in the text-well for editing and choose a tag from the ‘Tags’ drop-down list (Route Number, Sequence Number, Sequence Cardinal, or Name) – when a text label is added to an object the label is displayed as the attribute value, if it exists (if no attribute exists, it will be displayed as “Label”).
  • Select the text in the text-well for editing and type “%%” followed immediately by a custom attribute to be used in the label (for example, ‘%%CITYNAME’). The ‘%%’ preface indicates to Ortelius that the value is to be looked up.

7. IMPORTANT: Once the label is formatted, uncheck the ‘Enabled’ check box in the style components list. This hides the label adornment until a label is interactively added to an object.
8. Preview how the label looks as desired. Assuming the object with the Label Adornment is a shape that accepts labels (if not, use Graphic > Convert To Shape), select it, then right-click and choose “Add Label.” A label will be added and you will be able to see the label style you’ve just defined (since it is a label on a shape, it will be placed in the center but you can grab and move it as desired).

  • If the label isn’t quite how you’d like it, delete the label and return to the Style Inspector to make changes.
  • Repeat as necessary.

9. After you’re satisfied, delete the shape label before creating the symbol. If the label is not deleted, it will be retained as a visible label with the symbol.
10. Group your objects as necessary and create the symbol. The settings from the Label Adornment will be applied to the labels you add.

To Create Symbols with Visible Labels:

To_Create_Symbols_with_Visible_Labels.png

Simple symbols (made from a single object) can contain a visible label by default. This can be handy, for example, for creating labeled symbol adornments for tracks.

  1. Assuming your object is a shape that accepts labels (if not, use Graphic > Convert To Shape) select it, then right-click and choose “Add Label.” A label will be added. The label will assume the style properties of its Label Adornment if one has been defined.
  2. Edit the label’s style and rotation settings as desired. These settings are retained after converting to a symbol.
  3. Create the symbol.

HINT: A symbol comprised of a group of objects with labels will reveal its labels when the symbol is detached from its master. This can be handy, for example, when creating a locator map with its areas labeled, then saved as an auto-detached symbol.

To Create Symbols from True Type Fonts:

The character images, or “glyphs,” from True Type Fonts (TTF) can be converted to map symbols. Glyphs must first be converted into individual shape objects.

  1. Choose the Text Box [t] tool.
  2. Select the font you want to use, or choose Edit > Special Characters from the main menu to open the Special Characters window.
  3. Complete typing as desired.
  4. Using the Select [s] tool, 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Regroup shapes as needed.
  7. Create the symbol(s).

To Create Custom Sequence Markers:

To_Create_Custom_Sequence_Markers.png

Sequence markers can be made from any shape, for example a circle or square, that has been styled to include the “%%ortl_sequence_number” Label Adornment tag and enabling the sequnceable setting when the graphic is turned into a symbol.

  1. After drawing a shape, open the Style Inspector and define the style.
  2. Click the ‘+’ button and add ‘Label Adornment’ from the style components list.
  3. Edit the Label Adornment style properties as desired.
  4. IMPORTANT: Select the text in the text-well to edit it. Choose “Sequence Number” from the ‘Tag’ drop-down list. The tag “%%ortl_sequence_number” is added to the text-well.
  5. With your new marker selected, choose Graphic > Add Symbol To Library… from the main menu to turn it into a symbol.
  6. In the Create Symbol dialog, check the “Sequencable” option to create the sequence marker. As desired, choose the default initial sequence kind (for example, numeric or alphabetic) for your new marker.
  7. Click “Done” to complete the process. Your new sequence marker is now available from the Styles & Symbols palette and will be automatically numbered when placed.

HINT: To view the number while you adjust its Label Adornment 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.

To Create Shield Symbols:

To_Create_Shield_Symbols.png

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” Label Adornment tag and turned into a symbol.

 

  1. After drawing a shape, open the Style Inspector and define the style.
  2. Click the ‘+’ button and add ‘Label Adornment’ from the style components list.
  3. Edit the Label Adornment style properties as desired.
  4. IMPORTANT: Select the text in the text-well to edit it. Choose “Route Number” from the ‘Tag’ drop-down list. The tag “%%route_num” is added to the text-well.
  5. With your new shield selected, choose Graphic > Add Symbol To Library… from the main menu to turn it into a symbol.
  6. Click “Done” to complete the process. Your new shield symbol is now available from the Styles & Symbols palette and will be automatically numbered when placed.

Your new shield is now available from the Styles & Symbols palette and will automatically adopt route numbers when placed on tracks with the Route_Num attribute.