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I’d like to know how I can add an object to an existing symbol. I have a few instances of a symbol in an i,mage, and I want to add some extra detail. How can I do this? If I draw an object inside a symbol’s container, all the symbols in the image are not updated. How can I make it so that they are? Thanks.

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An ordinary Designer layer can have other layer objects nested within it.  Say you have a blue rectangle, and draw a  red circle within its canvas bounds. To bind the two together, the circle gets dragged within the layer panel under the rectangle as a child.  


Symbols work pretty much the same when adding new shapes. 


Note: A symbol can be a shape w. no fill or stroke. Except in outline view, it will be invisible.


You need to nest the new information within the symbol, or other child objects by drawing them in position on the canvas, and then place them in the appropriate layer position. Following the above, suppose you have a star shape. Drag it over any of the symbol instances. Open the instance, and drag the star so it goes under/within the symbol. Or drag it under/within the red circle. All the symbols will show the dame.

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5 hours ago, HairyDalek said:

If I draw an object inside a symbol’s container, all the symbols in the image are not updated.

This may be related to what I think might be a bug, one I cannot always repeat but I hope the attached Symbol bug?.afdesign AD file will at least partially demonstrate. The history is included so you can see how the file got to this state. It looks normal in the layers panel after the Clear selection history step except for two things:

1. The "Blue Dot" layer's thumbnail is not blue.

2. Hovering the pointer over that layer pops up an 'unlinked attribute' notice:


Not shown (because of my clumsy attempt at a quick screen capture), the blue dot also shows the vertical red line, another indicator that it is considered as a symbol.


This is a very simple file, initially consisting of two instances of the orange symbol & a blue ellipse positioned over instance 2:


To put the file in the weird state above, the blue dot layer was dragged into the mask position over the instance 2 layer (the first Move step in the history panel). Then it was dragged back out of the symbol in the Layers panel to its final position shown above (the second Move step in the History panel).


I also tried saving snapshots at various points in the workflow to demonstrate another anomaly I was getting, a partial redraw of instance 1 at various steps, like this:


But after creating a single 'start' snapshot, this crashed AD so I quit trying to add more. Except for the crash, I would consider this just a harmless cosmetic anomaly because doing anything to redraw the display, like zooming or panning, redrew everything correctly.


At other times, this or perhaps a similar bug has resulted in a shape dragged into a child (not mask) position in a symbol instance appearing only in that instance (both in the Layers panel & in the workspace), which is why I mentioned it here.

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Sadly, this is not the case for me. I’ve even go as far as putting NEW instances of a symbol in my file so that when I modify the, all the instances of the symbols will be updated.


1 - Screen shot 1 shows an item from a group called Rubber Key and a symbol called key.



2 - Screen Shot 2 shows what happens AFTER I have dragged an item called Rubber Key Outline into the Key symbol. It has no orange line down the side, nor do any of the instances of that symbol update.

3 - Screen Shot 3 shows what happens if I drag a line from another Symbol to the symbol I want to change. I get a dotted orange line.



4 - Screen shot 4 shows the result of the above operation in line 3 - The instance of Key that I dragged the line into is update. However, I am expecting the key with the 1 on it (yes, it’s a Spectrum keyboard before anyone asks) to get that change too. It doesn’t. None of the instances of the Key symbol do. The symbol is Attached and Sync is on in the Symbols palette.

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