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Replace Symbol functionality


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Hi team,

I was just wondering if there's a way to replace multiple Symbol instances with a different Symbol? I can't find a way to do this, to basically swap out a selection of Symbol instances.

Obviously I know that you can detach and recreate a Symbol, thus effectively duplicating it and then replacing the content of that Symbol - but this doesn't quite provide the same control as being able to swap multiple existing symbol instances with a different Symbol. An example of this would be swapping a number of icons (existing symbols) in a UI with a different icon, maintaining proportion and position on the Artboard - rather than dragging, resizing and repositioning a different icon from the Symbols panel.

I'm not sure if this feature has already been requested, or if it's been, or being, considered.

Thanks

Edited by simonlayfield
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If you are trying to replace all of them, and the symbols are not detached, you can always design the replacement separately, expand the symbol "container" in the layers panel, make sure Sync is turned on, drag in the new stuff, and delete the old stuff.

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30 minutes ago, fde101 said:

If you are trying to replace all of them, and the symbols are not detached, you can always design the replacement separately, expand the symbol "container" in the layers panel, make sure Sync is turned on, drag in the new stuff, and delete the old stuff. 

Yeah sorry this is what I meant when I said it's possible to replace all by replacing symbol contents. But, say, if you only want to replace some (not all) of them, then it's fiddly work.

In my case, I want to try different colourways for designs, with multiple artboards containing multiple instances of that design. Once I have a full set of boards in one colourway then I want to duplicate those artboards and change the colours of the design (Symbol). But I can't do this without detaching the Symbols, recreating a new Symbol and repositioning it in each place on the new Artboards.

If I was able to replace a Symbol with another, then I could keep the new Artboard symbols positioned as is, duplicate the original Symbol as a new one and then (drag and replace?) the new Symbol to replace them individually (or even better select in Layers panel, right click, Replace Symbol).

Does that make sense?

 

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  • 1 month later...

Agree, the need to exchange one symbol for another is essential to a complex illustration with oft repeated items.

Editing a symbol and permeating it throughout is fine, but when you want to, for example, select several and exchange them for a variant it is currently lengthy and manual (I am currently discovering! )

Edited by Like, would like more if…
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  • 1 year later...
  • 4 months later...
  • 1 month later...

+1 for this feature. 
I use Designer for fashion work and I have a selection of buttons and other trims set up as symbols.... the ability in Ai to quickly change and swap out a button across the entire document is a real time saver. Hope to see this ability in Designer. 
 

Also the ability to edit a symbol and have that symbol update across the document is a great feature.

Fingers crossed 🤞🏻 

 

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  • 1 month later...

bonjour à tous
Tout à fait d'accord.
+1
Le remplacement de symbole est tout à fait utile et indispensable.
Remplacer des symboles sélectionnés mais aussi pouvoir remplacer un symbole dans la fenêtre de symboles par un glisser/déposer d'objets sélectionnés est très efficace pour modifier rapidement une illustration (alt+glisser-déposer chez AI) (sans avoir à éditer le symbole lui-même).

*****

Hello to all
I totally agree.
+1
The symbol replacement is very useful and indispensable.
Replacing selected symbols but also being able to replace a symbol in the symbol window by dragging and dropping selected objects is very efficient to quickly edit an illustration (alt+drag and drop in AI) (without having to edit the symbol itself).

Windows 10 Pro 21H1 - Intel Core i7-3630QM CPU @ 2.40GHz - 16 Gb Ram - GeForce GT 650M - Intel HD 4000
Affinity Photo | Affinity Designer | Affinity Publisher | 1.10.4.1198

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Also related to this is the ability to “select same symbol instance” so I can quickly select all of the same same symbols in a document and then use the “replace” function mentioned above. 
 

Selecting same colour/stroke works of course but only if ur symbol is a different colour to the rest of document. 

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+1 for all suggestions here

As for selecting the instances of the same symbol: you can name the symbol in the symbol palette or name a group of layers before turning the group into a symbol. Each instance of the symbol gets this name then and you can use "select same->name" then.

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The other feature I'd like to see is the ability to open a symbol library from another document, so I can use/access those symbols separately without having to open the document itself.

Or for the library to act like the "Assets Library" and always remain available within software.... to be honest I feel Assests and Symbols should be merged into 1 thing, aside from some functionality difference between the 2 palettes are they not basically the same thing?? Or am I missing something here?   

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8 hours ago, ra.skill said:

to be honest I feel Assests and Symbols should be merged into 1 thing, aside from some functionality difference between the 2 palettes are they not basically the same thing??

Definitely not.

8 hours ago, ra.skill said:

Or am I missing something here?

The actual power of Symbols. :)
If anything, the ADe's Symbols and the APh's Links panels should be merged because those do basically the same thing.

See this example which I've recorded just yesterday for another thread:

You need to create symbols in ADe, but then you can link and unlink any of its attributes via the Links panel. The "Symbol" type of container "only" (it's likely a complex thing behind the scenes altogether though) expands on the linked layers feature.

That aside:

  1. create a symbol
  2. add it to Assets
  3. it will remain a symbol even as an asset

Voilà, there's your global symbol.

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29 minutes ago, loukash said:

The actual power of Symbols. :)

Yes I understand the power of “syncing” symbols…. It’s great. But why not just add this functionality to assets and get rid of symbols?? I don’t see the need for the 2 palettes? 
 

Adding symbols to assets is a good workaround to make them global 👍🏻 Thanks for that…. although this adds to my thinking that these panels and their functionality could be combined. 
 

Happy to have the reason for the 2 pallets explained to me… I just don’t see it. 

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Just now, ra.skill said:

But why not just add this functionality to assets and get rid of symbols??

Because Assets are something else.

The Assets panel is the equivalent of InDesign's Library panel.
Except that I like the flexible "My_Library_Name.indl" file concept better, rather than the monolithical and buried "assets.propcol" database.

5 minutes ago, ra.skill said:

Adding symbols to assets is a good workaround

That's not a "workaround", that's the workflow. Vive la différence. ;)
Create a "Symbols" category in your Assets panel to keep them sorted.

~~~

That all said, also in context of the aforementioned "assets.propcol" file:

The truly mindboggling flaw with assets is that each app has its own assets.propcol file, and they cannot "communicate" with each other.
This is definitely bad UI design.
And that's why Adobe's *.indl concept is better.

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6 minutes ago, ra.skill said:

Happy to have the reason for the 2 pallets explained to me… I just don’t see it. 

Symbols are local to a document and must remain that way to work, in much the same manner that global colors are local to a document and must remain that way (for reasons discussed elsewhere in other threads).

Assets are not synced within a document.  They are more like application palettes in the swatches panel in that they can easily be used across multiple documents.

 

4 minutes ago, loukash said:

The truly mindboggling flaw with assets is that each app has its own assets.propcol file, and they cannot "communicate" with each other.

I believe this is ultimately the result of sandboxing restrictions.  As the Affinity apps were originally distributed only on the app store, and still are available that way, there are limits imposed on the degree to which they can interact and share data.

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Just now, fde101 said:

I believe this is ultimately the result of sandboxing restrictions.

I'm aware of that.
And that's why the concept of a user defined file location works better in such cases.
In other words, you'd use the Assets panel only as an interface to display your saved asset categories, not to load and thus effectively duplicating them.

But we're drifting off topic.
This thread is about Symbols. :)

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3 hours ago, loukash said:

But we're drifting off topic.
This thread is about Symbols.

Merci pour la démo.
Et il est vrai que les questions techniques doivent rester secondaires, même si elles ont leur importance, et ne pas masquer la question.

*****

Thanks for the demo.
And it is true that technical issues should remain secondary, even if they are important, and not overshadow the issue.

Windows 10 Pro 21H1 - Intel Core i7-3630QM CPU @ 2.40GHz - 16 Gb Ram - GeForce GT 650M - Intel HD 4000
Affinity Photo | Affinity Designer | Affinity Publisher | 1.10.4.1198

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  • 1 month later...

Yes, this would be a very very helpful addition to AD. The workflow that I've encountered is this:

- I have a complex design with many symbols in it. For example, many instances of a star.

- I want to introduce some variety, so I select 1/3 of the instances, and want to replace those with a different star., or a moon, or whatever.

Similarly, I might have used Copy/Paste or Duplicate on a Group, and only later realize that I want these to be instances of a symbol. If I could select those Groups and then replace them with a symbol, preserving their placement & scale, that would then allow me to edit them all together.

Without the ability to replace these, I need to manually drag a new Symbol instance out and transform it to match for *each* of the items I want to replace, which can take hours to do :(

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

+1

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