Exports the page layout or data frame of a map document (.mxd) to Adobe Illustrator (AI) format.


Adobe Illustrator (AI) files are an excellent format for postprocessing in Adobe Illustrator as well as an interchange format for publishing. The ArcMap AI format preserves most layers from the ArcMap table of contents. However, the Adobe Illustrator file format that ArcMap writes does not support font embedding, so users who do not have the ESRI fonts installed may not be able to view AI files with the proper symbology. AI exports from ArcMap can define colors in CMYK or RGB values.

To export a single data frame instead of the entire page layout, pass a DataFrame object to the function's data_frame parameter. Because data frame exports do not have an associated page to provide height and width information, you must provide this via the df_export_width and df_export_height parameters.

Controlling graphic quality of the generated image differs for page layout exports versus data frame exports. When exporting a page layout, control image detail by changing the resolution parameter. When exporting a data frame, keep the resolution parameter at its default value, and change the df_export_width and df_export_height parameters to alter image detail. The height and width parameters directly control the number of pixels generated in the export file and are only used when exporting a data frame. Images with larger numbers of pixels will have higher image detail. For most page layout exports, the default parameter values should generate good results and nice looking export images on the first try. For data frame exports, you may need to experiment with the df_export_width and df_export_height values a few times before getting the result you want.

Refer to the Exporting your map topic in ArcGIS Help for more detailed discussions on exporting maps.


ExportToAI (map_document, out_ai, {data_frame}, {df_export_width}, {df_export_height}, {resolution}, {image_quality}, {colorspace}, {picture_symbol}, {convert_markers})
ParameterExplanationData Type

A variable that references a MapDocument object.


A string that represents the path and file name for the output export file.


A variable that references a DataFrame object. Use the string/constant "PAGE_LAYOUT" to export the map document's page layout instead of an individual data frame.

(The default value is PAGE_LAYOUT)


A number that defines the width of the export image in pixels for a data frame export. df_export_width is only used when exporting a data frame. Exporting a page layout uses the map document page width instead of df_export_width.

(The default value is 640)


A number that defines the height of the export image in pixels for a data frame export. df_export_height is only used when exporting a data frame. Exporting a page layout uses the map document page height instead of df_export_height.

(The default value is 480)


A number that defines the resolution of the export file in dots per inch (DPI).

(The default value is 300)


A string that defines output image quality, the draw resolution of map layers that draw as rasters.

  • BESTAn output image quality resample ratio of 1.
  • BETTERAn output image quality resample ratio of 2.
  • NORMALAn output image quality resample ratio of 3.
  • FASTERAn output image quality resample ratio of 4.
  • FASTESTAn output image quality resample ratio of 5.

(The default value is BEST)


A string that defines which color space will be written to the export file.

  • CMYKCyan, Magenta,Yellow, and blacK color model.
  • RGBRed, Green, and Blue color model.

(The default value is RGB)


A string that defines whether picture markers and picture fills will be converted to vector or rasterized on output.

  • RASTERIZE_BITMAP Rasterize layers with bitmap markers/fills.
  • RASTERIZE_PICTURERasterize layers with any picture marker/fill.
  • VECTORIZE_BITMAPVectorize layers with bitmap markers/fills.

(The default value is RASTERIZE_BITMAP)


A Boolean that controls the coversion of character-based marker symbols to polygons. This allows the symbols to appear correctly if the symbol font is not available or cannot be embedded. However, setting this parameter to True disables font embedding for all character-based marker symbols, which can result in a change in their appearance.

(The default value is False)


Code Sample

ExportToAI example 1

This script opens a map document and exports the page layout to an Adobe Illustrator file using default values for all options.

import arcpy
mxd = arcpy.mapping.MapDocument(r"C:\Project\Project.mxd")
arcpy.mapping.ExportToAI(mxd, r"C:\Project\Output\Project.ai")
del mxd
ExportToAI example 2

This script will export a single data frame instead of the entire page layout, similar to exporting from data view in the ArcMap application. The default values for df_export_width and df_export_height are 640 and 480. By passing larger values for these parameters, we are able to produce an output image with higher detail.

import arcpy
mxd = arcpy.mapping.MapDocument(r"C:\Project\Project.mxd")
df = arcpy.mapping.ListDataFrames(mxd, "Transportation")[0]
arcpy.mapping.ExportToAI(mxd, r"C:\Project\Output\ProjectDataFrame.ai", df,
del mxd