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Sync data

After adding geographic content to your mapboard in the compilation window, use the Sync map into artwork layers button Sync map into artwork layers to download this content to Illustrator (or Photoshop) as artwork.

What does Sync do?

When you sync your work from the Compilation window a new file relevant to the host application is created. So in the case of Illustrator this is an .ai file and in the case of Photoshop it is a .tif file. This file will share the same name as the mapboard. The artboard in the synced file reflects the geographic extent, dimensions, and scale of the mapboard. It will also contain the same geographic content as specified in the Compilation window.

By default, all synced map files are downloaded to your Documents folder directory under Documents\Adobe. If this folder doesn't exist, and you have sufficient permissions on your local computer, it will be created for you.


To change the download location, go to the Mapboard or Compilation window and click the Settings button. In the General tab under Output Directory, you'll be able to change the download location.

General tab within the Settings window.

You can choose which layers in your map are sync'ed as artwork by toggling their sync ability. This allows keeps layers in your map and choose if and when they are downloaded.

Toggles sync button for a layer.

After the sync is complete, the Layers panel in Illustrator or Photoshop is updated with the map content, the Compilation window progress indicates a successfully completed message. Finally the Sync map into artwork layers button Sync is enabled to allow you to sequentially sync additional map content to the same Illustrator (or Photoshop) file.

After a successful Sync map operation you can expect this:

  • Map download—A new file is created with layers that reflect the map content in the Compilation window. The structure and organization of layers varies between Photoshop and Illustrator. See Differences in Illustrator and Photoshop synced files.
  • Processes executed—If you have configured any processes to automatically run these will be executed.
  • Mapboard is locked—This is to ensure that any subsequent content that is added and synced via the Compilation window aligns geographically to the previously synced content.

    This is indicated by a solid blue line for the mapboard border. Some properties are disabled after sync and the mapboard is locked in place.

    • Scale
    • Extent
    • Mapboard Size
    • Image resolution (DPI)
    • Projection
    • Position
  • Layer Sync disabled—This option, gives you the ability to add more layers to your map and sync them, without having to delete the previously synced layers from your 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, select the Toggles Sync button. This will enable the layer once more for sync.

  • Map embedded into the file—If you are signed in as an ArcGIS Online user then the compiled layers are also embedded with the map.

    This 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 be persisted in the file when it is saved.


    Key image Requires an ArcGIS Online or Plus account. Compiled map will not be embedded in the file with complimentary access, however layers will be downloaded as artwork.

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


    This action cannot be undone.

  • Sync status updated—The status bar in the compilation window.

    You will see a success or failure message depending on the completion of sync operation.

    If you wish to change the location, scale, or size of the map area that was just synced, click the duplicate mapboard tool Duplicate icon to make a duplicate of an already synced mapboard. This allows editing of the mapboards properties such as scale, size, extent, and image resolution (dpi), projection, and position. After you have created the duplicate, use Sync map into artwork layers Sync to download the maps layers to a new file in Illustrator or Photoshop.

In this topic
  1. What does Sync do?