Label/annotation boxes with custom placement

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03-12-2014 11:41 AM
AndyBurkemper
New Contributor
I'm looking to label a dense set of points with multi-line data boxes where I can manually place/organize the boxes so that they are aesthetically logical and can be easily traced back to the points they apply to.  I've created the boxes as I want them using a labeling expression, but I don't like the way ArcMap automatically places them...the points are dense enough that either some labels won't show up or they'll overlap each other (depending on the placement properties I choose).  I know I can convert the labels to annotation, then move/place them manually, but as far as I can tell, once I do this, the annotation is no longer linked with the attribute table or each other, so that I can't make any universal changes to the content or formatting of the boxes...is this correct?  Basically, once I have the boxes manually placed where I want them, I want to be able to modify the content in all the boxes (e.g. add or remove a line of attribute data) without them moving, or without starting over with the conversion of labels to annotation and having to move them all manually again.  Currently, I save the annotation within the map during the conversion...does it make a difference if I save them within a geodatabase??  I'm just not that familiar with geodatabase files and have always worked mostly with individual shapefiles.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
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RobertBorchert
Frequent Contributor III
Not quite certain what you mean by label boxes.

however, what I have done to specify a labels specific location is to create a Cardinal Direction Field. I gave it a domain.  i.e North, NorthEast, East...etc...

I then set up label rules to place a label that matches a specific cardinal direction to only place it in that location.

Since then I have personally found it is better to use a rotation field instead of Cardinal directions.  However, if those who are not so savvy are making edits it might be beter to limit them to cardinal directions.

On split to the Rotation Field you can create a second field and call it LabelDistance.  Your label specifications  place a label an offset based on points or map units.  You can create multiple label parameters for this.

example.   This label is at 45 degrees and I want it off set by 3 points.  so my criteria are labeldistance = 3  and you set it to offset based on rotation and then in the parameters set it to off set at 3.

So i you have say 10 different offset settings you create 10 label rules.

Cumbersome to set up and get everything going but it works really well.  I have confidence that when i print  a page my labels are exactly where I want them. 


FYI I detest annotation

I'm looking to label a dense set of points with multi-line data boxes where I can manually place/organize the boxes so that they are aesthetically logical and can be easily traced back to the points they apply to.  I've created the boxes as I want them using a labeling expression, but I don't like the way ArcMap automatically places them...the points are dense enough that either some labels won't show up or they'll overlap each other (depending on the placement properties I choose).  I know I can convert the labels to annotation, then move/place them manually, but as far as I can tell, once I do this, the annotation is no longer linked with the attribute table or each other, so that I can't make any universal changes to the content or formatting of the boxes...is this correct?  Basically, once I have the boxes manually placed where I want them, I want to be able to modify the content in all the boxes (e.g. add or remove a line of attribute data) without them moving, or without starting over with the conversion of labels to annotation and having to move them all manually again.  Currently, I save the annotation within the map during the conversion...does it make a difference if I save them within a geodatabase??  I'm just not that familiar with geodatabase files and have always worked mostly with individual shapefiles.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
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AndyBurkemper
New Contributor
Thanks Robert; I have not tried that before.  I should have specified that by 'label boxes' I meant labels with leaders and text background, as in the image below...this is basically what I'm going for.  These boxes are labels that have been converted to annotation so that I could manually place them where I want them, but I would rather keep them as labels so that they stay linked to the attribute data and I can modify their content (or formatting).

[ATTACH=CONFIG]32158[/ATTACH]

Not quite certain what you mean by label boxes.
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