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Apply Visual Specification To Map


Applies symbols and Arcade expressions to layers in a map based on the symbols and rules defined in a visual specification database.


  • Only specification rules defined using simple SQL expressions for a single feature class and without nested joins will be converted to Arcade. If a specification rule uses complex SQL expressions or Visual Basic expressions, the rule will be skipped and a warning will be generated.

  • A layer in the map will only be updated if the name of the layer matches the layer name defined in one or more specification rules.

  • ArcMap styles containing the representations used in the visual specifications must be converted to a style file (.stylx) before running this tool. For more information, see Import a style into the project.

  • If the tool is run in an ArcGIS Pro project, the style should be imported into the project. If the tool is run from a project, styles associated with the project will be available. You can choose a style from the Input Style File parameter or browse to an existing style file.

  • If a visual specification was created using multiple styles, all the symbols used in the specification should be merged to a single style before running this tool.

  • Regardless of the current renderer, if a layer contains specification rules, the layer renderer will be updated to use the Unique Value Renderer. Each specification rule will be added as an Arcade expression with a return code that matches the symbol name of the representation rule. Each return code will be added as a value to the unique value renderer. If the return code matches a symbol name in one of the chosen style files, the value will be displayed with that symbol; otherwise, the value will be displayed with a symbol from the default color ramp.

  • Unlike the ArcMap Calculate Visual Specifications tool, this tool is not intended to be used to apply symbology as each map is created. It is designed to be used as a one-time migration tool to help you create map and layout templates in ArcGIS Pro.


ApplyVisualSpecificationToMap_topographic (in_map, vs_workspace, specification, {in_style_file})
ParameterExplanationData Type

The map containing layers to which symbols and Arcade expressions will be applied.


The database containing the visual specification rules.


The specification rules that will be converted to Arcade and applied to the map layers.


The style file (.stylx) that contains the symbols defined in the visual specification rules.


Derived Output

NameExplanationData Type

The updated map.


Code sample

ApplyVisualSpecificationToMap example (stand-alone script)

The following stand-alone sample script demonstrates how to use the ApplyVisualSpecificationToMap tool to convert existing Visual Specification rules to Arcade.

# Name:
# Description: This tool converts existing Visual Specification rules to Arcade

# Import System Modules
import arcpy

# Check Out Extensions

# Setting the environment
arcpy.env.overwriteOutput = 1

# Setting Local Variables
in_map = r'C:\Data\TM50.mapx'
vs_workspace = r'C:\Data\TDS_6_1_TM_Visual_Specification.gdb'
specification = "TDS_50K :: 50K TM Visual Specification for TDS 6.1"
in_style_file = r'C:\Data\TM.stylx'

# Calling the Apply Visual Specification To Map to convert existing Visual Specification rules to Arcade
arcpy.topographic.ApplyVisualSpecificationToMap(in_map, vs_workspace, specification, in_style_file)

# Getting all messages, warnings, and errors from the tool run and printing the results back to the user
messages = arcpy.GetMessages(0)
warnings = arcpy.GetMessages(1)
errors = arcpy.GetMessages(2)
arcpy.AddMessage('Tool Messages: {}\nTool Warnings: {}\nTool Errors{}\n'.format(messages, warnings, errors))

# Check In Extensions


This tool does not use any geoprocessing environments.

Licensing information

  • Basic: No
  • Standard: Requires Production Mapping
  • Advanced: Requires Production Mapping

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