MAP Themes are a collection of thematic cartography tools designed to increase productivity by automating how styles and symbols are applied, chart production and data plotting. The former MAP Stylesheets (in MAPublisher 8.3 and older) have been integrated into MAP Themes and is now called Stylesheet theme. Two new types are the Chart theme and Dot Density theme.

The Stylesheet theme offers enhancements over the previous version of MAP Stylesheets. Adobe Illustrator graphic styles can be assigned to stylesheet rules and stroke fill and opacity can now be assigned on a per rule basis within the Stylesheet dialog box. The Stylesheet dialog box now offers a Batch Generate Rules feature where attributes can be automatically classified using a variety of common classification methods.

The Chart theme offers an interface for quickly generating individual bar and pie charts for a chosen attribute of selected features. The Dot Density theme provides a thematic mapping tool that assigns a unit value to Illustrator symbols and randomly distributes symbols throughout associated areas based on attribute values.

MAP Themes offer a lot of flexibility. They can be edited, applied, duplicated, exported and cleared without affecting the spatial referencing of map features.

Load Symbols and Styles

The symbology used by MAP Themes are directly related to the symbols and styles which exist in several Adobe Illustrator panels. In order to correctly function, MAP Themes require that symbology or styles are established in the corresponding Adobe Illustrator panels:

For Stylesheet themes:


Area stylesheets

Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles)


Line stylesheets

Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles)


Point stylesheets

Symbols panel (Window > Symbols)


Text stylesheets

Character Styles panel (Window > Type > Character Styles)



Swatches panel (Window > Swatches)


For Chart and Dot Density themes:


Graphic Styles panel (Window > Graphic Styles)


Character Styles panel (Window > Type > Character Styles)


Swatches panel (Window > Swatches)


Symbols panel (Window > Symbols)


Custom symbology can be added to the Adobe Illustrator Graphic Styles, Symbols and Swatches panels. Another great source of styles comes from the custom graphic style, symbol and swatch libraries installed by MAPublisher.

To open MAPublisher supplied graphic style, symbol and swatch libraries, navigate to the following panels:

Graphic Styles panel options menu > Open Graphic Style Library > MAP Graphics

Swatches panel options menu > Open Swatch Library > MAP Swatches

Symbols panel options menu > Open Symbols Library > MAP Symbols


These styles and symbols are stored in Adobe Illustrator documents in the Helpful Styles & Symbols folder. To create a style library, simply create your own Adobe Illustrator documents containing your symbols, graphic styles and character styles and save them to the appropriate Helpful Styles & Symbols subfolder. See Appendix 4 for more information.

Along with the ability to style map art using Adobe Illustrator Graphic Styles and Symbols, MAP Themes allow users to manually specify stroke, fill and scale properties on a per rule basis.

Using MAP Themes Panel


Add MAP Theme

To create a new a new MAP Theme, click the Add Map Theme button in the MAP Themes panel. Alternatively, choose New MAP Theme from the MAP Themes panel options menu. This opens the New MAP Theme dialog box, where one of several themes can be chosen: Stylesheet, Chart, or Dot Density.

Apply MAP Themes

There are several ways to apply a MAP Theme. Click the Apply button in any of the Edit Theme dialog boxes to immediately apply theme options to the map document. Another way is to click the Apply MAP Theme button in the MAP Themes panel. This method is useful for applying themes at a later time. Save the theme settings made in any of the Edit Theme dialog boxes and in the MAP Themes panel, select a MAP Theme and click the Apply MAP Theme button. Alternatively, choose Apply "[theme name]" in the MAP Theme panel options menu.

Clear MAP Themes

Click the Additional MAP Themes options button and in the context menu, click Clear [Theme]. This does not delete the MAP Theme, it only removes the style from the data.

Duplicate Themes

A document can contain as many MAP Themes as desired. Choose Duplicate "[theme name]" to create a copy of an existing MAP Theme. The rules and styles are preserved during a copy. This is useful when creating different styles for a map; each theme can have the same rules, but different visual properties. To apply the different themes, clear a previous theme and apply another one.

Export MAP Themes

To export MAP Themes, choose Export MAP Themes from the panel options menu. In the Export MAP Themes dialog box, click a check box beside each theme to select it for export. Click OK and a Save dialog box will prompt for a file name.


MAP Themes are exported to an Adobe Illustrator document and are considered MAP Objects. They can be imported using Copy MAP Objects From.

MAPublisher Log

MAP Theme processes can be viewed in the log file associated with each type of theme. View the log through the Additional MAP Theme Option context menu. Logged theme processes include the start and finish time of theme processes along with the number of pieces of art found and the number of pieces stylized. See more about the MAPublisher Log.


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Last updated: 4/16/2019