ArcGIS Basics – Working with Labels and Annotation

March 2, 2005

ArcGIS Basics
Working with Labels and Annotation
Labeling in ArcGIS has changed considerably from the old ArcView 3.X version. In ArcGIS
label positions are generated automatically, are not selectable, and the display properties of
individual labels cannot be edited. Annotation must be created from the labels before editing can
take place.
The following text provides step-by-step instructions on how to work with labels and annotation
in ESRI’s ArcMap software. The instructions are not all-inclusive and therefore do not cover
every aspect of map making, nor do they offer a complete review of the functionality offered by
GIS software. This document merely provides a means to familiarize the user with ArcMap and
some of its basic functions.
Labeling features in a layer
1.
2.
3.
4.

In the Table of Contents, right-click the layer you want to label and click Properties.
Click the Labels tab (see screen shot below).
Check Label Features in this layer.
Click the Label Field dropdown arrow and click the field you want to use as a label.

5. If you want to change the appearance of the labels, click Symbol.
6. Either select a text symbol from the left pane, or click Properties to change the properties
of the existing label symbol.
7. Further label placement and conflict detection options can be reached by clicking on the
Label Placement Options button.
8. Click OK.
9. Click OK again to close the layer properties window and draw the labels.

Genesee County GIS

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There are two storage options: Genesee County GIS -2- . right-click the layer that you labeled and Click Convert Labels to Annotation. Choose an annotation storage location on the right side for the labels selected in the list on the left side of the dialog box. 2005 Converting labels to annotation 1. In the table of contents.ArcGIS Basics – Working with Labels and Annotation March 2. 2.

then browse to the personal geodatabase where the annotation will be stored. or a feature dataset within a geodatabase. check the Generate overlapping labels for all layers check box. To store annotation in a geodatabase. To generate overlapping labels for all of your label classes. also check the Display overlapping labels in the overflow Genesee County GIS -3- . To store the annotation in the map document you are working on. 2005 Storing annotation in the map is appropriate if you do not intend to use the annotation in another map document. and have these labels added to the overflow labels window. To use an existing annotation group. one must be created. or only the features that are currently selected). 4. For help creating a personal geodatabase.ArcGIS Basics – Working with Labels and Annotation March 2. click the down arrow and select one from the list. 5. features displayed in the current extent only. simply make sure the radial button next to In the map is checked and type an annotation group name in the space provided. please contact the GIS Department. If you do not have an existing personal geodatabase in which to store annotation. check the radial button next to In a database. 3. To treat overlapping labels as unplaced labels. Storing annotation in a database is appropriate if you intend to use the annotation in future map documents. use the storage options on the left of the window to decide which labels will be used for annotation (all features in the layer. Once the annotation feature class has been set up.

unplaced labels are not drawn. Right-click on a label in the list and click Flash feature to flash that label's feature on the map. To add an unplaced label as annotation. By default. 4. right-click anywhere in the window and check Draw Unplaced Labels. Additionally. Adding unplaced labels to the map 1. right-click on a label in the list and click Add Label. Unplaced labels will be added to the overflow window only if you check both boxes mentioned in steps 10 and 11. Convert your labels to annotation as described above. any unplaced labels appear in the Overflow window. Click OK to perform the conversion. Note: See screen shot on next page. right-click anywhere in the window and check Show Labels in Extent. 5. When converting. 6. all of the unplaced labels are listed. After conversion. To draw all of the unplaced labels on the map. The Overflow window lists each unplaced label and its Annotation layer—either an annotation group or a geodatabase annotation feature class. the Overflow window will only appear if there are unplaced labels after the conversion. Genesee County GIS -4- . 6. 8. 7. Double-click on a label in the list to pan to that label's feature on the map.ArcGIS Basics – Working with Labels and Annotation March 2. be sure to check the boxes on the conversion dialog that say "Generate overlapping labels for all layers" and "Display overlapping labels in the overflow window". By default. 3. To see only a list of labels in the current extent. 2005 window check box. 2.

• If you close the Overflow window. unplaced labels are drawn with a red outline. and label placement options to increase the number of placed labels before converting.ArcGIS Basics – Working with Labels and Annotation March 2. • If you are seeing a lot of labels in the Overflow window. 2005 Tips • You must be editing to add labels from the Overflow window to a geodatabase annotation feature class. you may not be properly setting up your map scale and reference scales before converting. label and feature weights. • When drawn. Genesee County GIS -5- . Unplaced labels are not selectable. • A lot of labels in the Overflow window may also mean that a lot of your labels are not being placed. You should work with label priority. you can open it again by choosing View and then clicking Overflow Labels.

us. click Editor then Stop editing. The tools on the Editor toolbar and Advanced Editing toolbar cannot be used with map document annotation. map document annotation is edited in ArcMap. contact the GIS Department at (810) 257-3074 or by email at gishelp@co. click Editor then Start editing. 2. and you will use a different set of tools (on the Draw toolbar). On the Editor toolbar. Editing annotation stored in the map document In contrast. refer to the ArcGIS Desktop Help under the Help menu. save the map document to save your edits. Click Yes when asked if you want to save your edits.ArcGIS Basics – Working with Labels and Annotation March 2. For additional information on labeling and working with annotation in ArcMap. Select the layer or layers you would like to edit from the Start Editing window. After starting the edit session. 3. but an edit session is not required. use the editing tools in ArcMap. there is no need to select it.mi. 2005 Editing annotation stored in a geodatabase 1. Draw toolbar Once you are finished editing annotation that is being stored in the map. Advanced Editing toolbar.genesee. (Note: if there is only one layer in the map document. Once editing is complete. The edit session for that layer will start automatically once Start Editing is selected). including tools on the Editor toolbar. To edit annotation stored in a geodatabase you must first start an edit session. Genesee County GIS -6- . and Draw toolbar (to create new annotation). For further assistance using ArcMap or general GIS questions.