Sync data

After adding geographic content to your mapboard in the compilation window, use the Sync button Sync to download this content to Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop as artwork.


If you're using an .aix file, don't change the layer names in Illustrator that correspond to the map frames in your ArcGIS Pro project; otherwise, syncing will fail. Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud matches the mapboard names to the layer names in Illustrator to sync and align layers to the correct map or map frame.


For ArcGIS Enterprise accounts, see the associated configuration requirements.

What sync does

When you sync your work from the Compilation window, a new file is created in the host application or the associated file is modified. For example, when you're using Photoshop, a .tif file is created. When you're using Illustrator, syncing creates or modifies the following file types:

  • Adobe Illustrator (*.AI)—This is the default. The AI file format is the native vector file type for Adobe Illustrator. (Once you save the result as an .ai file, you cannot save it later as a georeferenced PDF because the geospatial coordinates don't persist in the file.)
  • ArcGIS - Georeferenced PDF (Beta) (*.PDF)—When you save the result as a georeferenced PDF, it retains geospatial coordinates in the final design to support measuring and geolocation tools in Adobe Acrobat. Creating a georeferenced PDF with Maps for Adobe Creative Cloud allows you to continue designing in Illustrator. This is a beta feature that's not yet intended for use in production or business-critical tasks.

    The georeferenced PDF file is created using the settings specified in Adobe PDF Presets from the last PDF that you saved in Illustrator. (Refer to the Illustrator help for more information.) Using the Illustrator Default preset is recommended. At minimum, if you plan to continue designing the map in Illustrator, the Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities setting must be turned on when the file is created.

The first time you sync, the Sync Map window appears and you can edit the file name in the Document Name field or accept the default, which uses the name of the mapboard. (You don't need to specify the file extension.) The file name isn't changed when you sync again to an existing file. You can also use Sync to add more map content to the artwork in your AIX-generated files. (This won't affect the name of the existing file in Illustrator or its map layer names.)

The artboard in the synced file reflects the geographic extent, dimensions, and scale of the mapboard. It also contains the geographic content that you specified in the Compilation window. If you use the extension's beta feature to create a georeferenced PDF, the file also includes the geospatial coordinates required to georeference location data when the file is opened in Adobe Acrobat.

You can choose which layers in your map to sync as artwork by using the Toggles Sync button. This allows you to keep layers in your map and choose if and when they are downloaded.

Toggles Sync button for a layer in the Contents pane

After the sync is complete, the Layers panel in Illustrator or Photoshop is updated with the map content. (The downloaded results can vary depending on your mapping profile setting.) The Compilation window progress indicates when it's successfully completed. The Sync button Sync is enabled again to allow you to sync additional map content to the same Illustrator or Photoshop file.

After you successfully sync the map, you can expect the following results:

  • Sync status updated—A status bar appears in the compilation window with a success (or failure) message.
  • Map downloaded—A new file is created or updated with layers that reflect the map content in the Compilation window. The structure and organization of layers vary between Illustrator and Photoshop. See Differences in Illustrator and Photoshop synced files.

    Labels are highlighted in pink in your downloaded map if the font used in the source layer is not available on your machine. In Illustrator, click the Type menu and choose Resolve Missing Fonts to see a list of missing fonts. If the font is available in Adobe Fonts, you can activate it by checking the corresponding box.

    Labels highlighted in pink for missing fonts

  • Processes completed—Processes run on the downloaded map if you configured any to run on sync.
  • Layer sync toggled off—Turning sync off for layers that you've already downloaded allows you to add and sync more layers without removing the previously synced layers from your map in the compilation window. Once you've synced your map and created an artwork file, you can come back to the Compilation window and download new layers.

    To sync a layer multiple times, turn on the Toggles Sync button Toggles Sync. This will enable the layer once more for sync.

  • Mapboard is locked—The mapboard is locked in place (indicated by a solid blue border) and the following properties are disabled to ensure that any content you subsequently add and sync in the Compilation window aligns geographically to the previously synced content:
    • Position
    • Scale
    • Extent
    • Mapboard size
    • Image resolution (PPI)
    • Projection

    If you need to change the location, scale, or size of the map area that was just synced, make a copy of the mapboard by clicking its Duplicate button Duplicate in the Mapboards window, and update the new mapboard. Duplicating a mapboard copies its properties and the compiled map, and allows you to edit map scale, dimensions, geographic extent, projection, and image resolution (PPI). When you duplicate an AIX-generated mapboard, the new map only includes layers added in the extension. If the map was rotated in ArcGIS Pro, the new map will also be rotated when you sync but it won't appear rotated in the Compilation window. After you create the duplicate and make changes to the new mapboard, click the Sync button Sync to download the map layers to a new file in Illustrator or Photoshop.

  • Map embedded into the file—The compiled layers are also embedded with the map, which is indicated by the Embed map icon Embed map icon next to the name of the mapboard. Any changes made to the compilation after the map has been embedded will persist in the file when you save it.

    To remove the embedded map from the synced file, delete the mapboard using the Delete map button Delete map in the Mapboards window while the file is open, and save the changes.


    This action cannot be undone.

Remove clipping paths

If you're using the Default mapping profile, some clipping paths are kept in the downloaded map to preserve the map's appearance. Examples include the following:

  • Maps with a vector tile layer or vector tile basemap, in case it uses patterns or imagery as part of the design (such as images for symbols).
  • Polygon layers with transparency, such as building footprints in some vector tile basemaps. (Only applicable for ArcGIS Pro 3.1 and earlier)

To remove all the clipping paths in an Illustrator document, complete the following steps:

  1. Lock or hide any layers for which you want to keep clipping paths.
  2. From the Illustrator Select menu, choose Object, and click Clipping Masks.
  3. Press Delete to remove the selected clipping paths.