Unable to save customized symbols in the Symbol Selector

Last Published: April 25, 2020


The Symbol Selector dialog boxes show a palette of symbols that reside in any of the currently referenced styles or in a user's personal styles. Using the Symbol Selector, users can implement custom symbols if none of the symbols desired are present in the palette or are difficult to find.

However, users are unable to save customized symbols in the Symbol Selector if the Save As button in the Symbol Selector dialog box is disabled.



The button may be disabled due to the following reasons:

  • The .style file is set to Read-Only.
  • There is an issue related to the Normal.mxt file.
  • The data or the MXD file is corrupt.

Solution or Workaround

Use one of the following options to resolve this issue.

Close all Esri applications running on the system before proceeding to the options below.

Option A
Ensure there is Read and Write access to the .style file. This file is located at:

Enable 'Show Hidden Files and Folders' if unable to locate the application data folder. This can be done in Windows 7 or 8 by clicking Organize Drop-down > Folder and Search Options > View Tab > 'Show Hidden Files and Folders'. 

Option B
Rename the Normal.mxt file.

  1. Navigate to the following directory path:
  1. Right-click the Normal.mxt file, and click Rename.
  2. Rename the file to 'Normal_old.mxt'.
  3. Start ArcMap.

Option C

The instructions below include making changes to essential parts of your operating system. It is recommended to back up your operating system and files, including registry, before proceeding. Consult with a qualified computer systems professional, if necessary.

Please be aware that renaming the ESRI folders is a factory reset of ArcGIS, and therefore all third party tools, custom scripts, and/or custom toolbars currently installed must be reinstalled as a result. Additionally, all existing folder connections must be reconnected.

Esri cannot guarantee results from incorrect modifications while following these instructions. Use caution and proceed at your own risk.
If ArcGIS Pro is installed on the machine, ensure that an ArcGIS Pro license is not checked out from ArcGIS Online.
If unsure as to whether or not an ArcGIS Pro License is checked out on the machine, please contact Esri Technical Support at 888-377-4575.

Rename the Esri folder

  1. Open Windows Explorer.
  2. Navigate to:
  1. Right-click the Esri folder and select Rename. Rename the folder to 'ESRI_old'.
Edit the Registry Key
  1. Click the Start menu > Run > type regedit.
  2. In the Registry Editor, expand the HKEY_CURRENT_USER folder.
  3. Expand the Software folder.
  4. Rename the Esri folder to 'Esri_old'.
  1. Close the Registry Editor window.
  2. Start ArcMap.

Article ID:000012396

  • ArcMap

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