Copying a representation class

By Charlie Frye, Esri Chief Cartographer

Not long ago we found a workflow that demonstrated how convenient it would be to be able to copy a representation class. The situation arose as we were creating a map service for a map that had been designed for print. The problem was that many of the symbols were too small and detailed to be seen clearly on screen. Our symbols were already cartographic representations, so we didn’t want to edit them (to make them larger) because we still needed them to produce our print map. We also didn’t want to have to create and manage an extra copy of our data just to manage one additional attribute (the one added for representations).

After a bit of head scratching, documentation searching, and interface exploration, our persistence paid off. We had at one point right clicked on our layer and noticed that the choice to convert our symbology to representation was still active. What’s more, when we used this choice, it worked! It made a copy of our representations for the print map. That saved us hours of work, by having to edit only one property (size) of only some of the symbols our layer used.

One additional thing we learned in the process was that not only did our point layers need to be updated, but our fill layers that used representation markers also needed to be updated.

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  1. wj says:

    I also try to use convert symbology to Representation. But, some pattern can be shown after export the map to a JPG image. For example, a pattern created with bitmap in a style.
    I am trying find the solution. Any suggestions?

  2. juane says:

    This technique, seemingly the most obvious thing to try, does not work for me.

    The “copy” does not maintain representation geometry edits.

    I am in a conundrum.


  3. cfrye says:


    I tried a few routes to either calculating or copying & pasting the values from the table between the fields and cannot recommend that route.

    However, I did find a way to do this (copy representation classes with any free representations or overrides).

    I did this in ArcCatalog:

    1. Create a copy the feature class that contains both the original and the copied representations. Use the Copy Features tool.
    2. Use the Delete features tool to remove the features from the copy
    3. Use the Append tool where the target feature class is the empty copy, and the append feature class is the original feature class. Set the Schema Type Option to No test, which will show the field map. By expanding the representation fields, you can delete a map (right-click on it), and then map a different field (right-click). What you’ll want to do is map the overrides from the first representation class to the override field from the second representation class.

    I’m on the road at a conference right now, So I cannot verify this, as rigorously as usual, so make an extra copy just to be safe.

    Also, this is still considerably faster than having to recreate representation rules or copy them into and out of styles (for cases where you’re copying more than 3-6 rules).