I'd like to create a reusable symbol for things like this:

enter image description here


enter image description here

I can change their shape and color - and I can change the color of just one with the direct selection tool - but I can't change the text independently. I want the symbol to share the shapes and spacing and the text size - etc - but not the text value.

Is this possible? None of the examples online use text.

EDIT: I've found this note since posting:

enter image description here

  • 2
    You can't, but a possible work around is to group text with a symbol. Then duplicate the group as required. The text and symbols will then remain editable separately.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 23, 2019 at 10:40
  • this sounds like a job for Adobe Figma or Adobe xD
    – Luciano
    Oct 18, 2022 at 10:16
  • Wow "Adobe Figma" already!! That was fast. Affinity designer handles it quite nicely too. Oct 18, 2022 at 19:30

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, I don't believe you'll be able to use symbols for the very reason that you found in the Symbols section of Adobe's website.

Have you tried using the Libraries functionality yet in Illustrator? You can drag your grouped object into the library to create a linked asset that is similar to a symbol. From there, you can right-click the asset and select "Place Copy". This will give you an editable version that will not change the linked asset.

In case you want to learn more about libraries in Illustrator

Hope this helps you out!


You can place the symbol in and then right click and select 'Break Link to Symbol' then you can alter the text. This however, disconnects it from the original symbol and won't update if you change/edit the original symbol.

As per the other answer, you could also use a Library object.

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