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Templates in Illustrator - Possible to "autoupdate" when changes are made?

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#1
Tosh

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I'm currently working on a project that requires creating a large number of maps that all have the same basic template and "stock" layers (roads, labels, municipal boundaries, etc.).

My workflow has been:

1. Export "data" (non-fixed) layers from ArcMap to AI, using an MXD that has the same extent and scale as the Illustrator template.
2. Create a new document based on the Illy template.
3. Open the AI exported from ArcMap.
4. Select "data" layers needed for the map.
5. Copy and paste those features into the template document, and edit as necessary.

We have now realized there are a few changes that need to be made to labels and other items in the template document, and these changes need to be reflected on all maps that have been created so far.

Is there a way to update the changes to the Illy Template, and have those changes automatically reflected in all AI documents (maps) that were created based on the template? This would save me a lot of time!

Thanks for the help.

#2
Andrew Patterson

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No, there's no way to do that unfortunately. Templates are essentially just pre-saved documents -- there's no relationship that I know of between a document and the template from which it sprang. I'm afraid you're going to have to do it all manually.
Andrew Patterson
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Avenza Systems Inc.

email: andrew@avenza.com
phone: 416.487.5116

#3
Dennis McClendon

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You probably already know about this, but the snap-to-point feature in Illustrator is a great help with problems like this. Put all your correx on a new layer, and include a copy of some feature (like a park or distinctively shaped street). Now you can copy all your changes from the template, and when you paste them into a child document, snap one corner of the park to the same corner already in place. The other changes will move into precise position. Now you can move the corrected names to the right layers one at a time, deleting the incorrect ones. When you're done, only the extra park will be left on the correx layer and you can get rid of it.

If you've been careful about not adding or moving any features, of course, you can simply bring the corrected layer wholesale from the template file, after getting rid of or renaming that layer in the child document.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com

#4
Tosh

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If you've been careful about not adding or moving any features, of course, you can simply bring the corrected layer wholesale from the template file, after getting rid of or renaming that layer in the child document.


Thanks Dennis - this is what I have been doing, and it works fairly well, but it still means performing the same process over and over on many maps (which ends up being pretty time consuming).

I'm looking for a way to automate it, and tried creating a custom action, but it didn't really work out.

Any other suggestions?

#5
Dennis McClendon

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Well, you could have InDesign files in which two Illustrator files have been placed and registered to each other. Each time InDesign document is opened, it will go and get the up-to-date links. So if your template stuff is labels and the like that would logically be on the top (or bottom), you could have an InDesign document with the specific thematic map placed in it and—carefully registered on top—an EPS or PDF with the template stuff. PDFs (and EPSs, I think) can be seen through so that you could have a frame through which you see the map; I did a big shaded-relief map this way last year so InDesign rather than FreeHand could deal with the production issues of big raster files. Updating the template file would cause the InDesign document to automatically update the next time it was opened.

The other "subscribe/autoupdate" feature in Illustrator is symbol libraries, but I know nothing about those and how large or complex they can be.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
chicagocarto.com




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