How To: Replace default point symbols from a feature service with a user-defined block in ArcGIS for AutoCAD


ArcGIS for AutoCAD is a plug-in used to add, create, and edit GIS information in AutoCAD drawings. However, symbols of a feature service are not scalable in AutoCAD.


The purpose of this article is to provide a workflow to overwrite these default symbols using user defined blocks. For the following steps to work, ensure the ArcGIS for AutoCAD plug-in is enabled. Refer to: How To: Set up ArcGIS for AutoCAD to launch at AutoCAD startup for more information. The steps below are as follows.

  1. Create and define a block in AutoCAD. For more information on creating and defining blocks, refer to the AutoCAD: Blocks documentation.
    The features are added to the current drawing on one or more layers that are auto-generated with the names ESRI___. If the feature class does not have a subtype then it is not used. So, in the Block Definition dialog box enter a name for the block (this service does not contain any subtypes) as displayed in the following:
Screenshot of the Block Definition dialog box with the name of the block

Optionally, if a block is already created, use the RENAME command in the Command Line to rename the block. This is to match the block name to the feature service layer to replace the default point symbol.

Image of Command Line with RENAME command
  1. Select Blocks in Named Objects.
  2. Click the block name in Items. The name displays in the Old Name text box.
Screenshot of the Rename dialog box
  1. Type the new name of the block in the Rename To text box in the correct format as shown in step 1. The block item name must match the feature service layer name to replace the default point symbol.
  2. Click OK.
  3. Use the Add Service icon to add a service to ArcGIS for AutoCAD.
    • On the ArcGIS tab, click Add Service.
Image of Add Service tab
  1. In the Warning: No Coordinate System Defined window, click Assign to set the preferred coordinate system.
Screenshot of the Warning: No Coordinate System Defined window.
  1. In the Add GIS Service dialog box if no existing GIS Server connection exists, click New Server Connection. Fill in the Server Name and Server URL, and click Next.
Image of Specify Server Connection Information window
  1. Once connected to the GIS Server, select the feature service layer and set necessary parameters as desired.
  2. Click Add. The feature service point layer is added to the drawing, and the feature points are replaced with the assigned blocks.
Image of Select a GIS Service window

The image below shows the default point symbols replaced with the user-defined blocks.

Image of default point symbols replaced with user defined blocks

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