Move the labels in a manual way

03-07-2012 06:05 AM
Status: Already Offered
Labels (1)
New Contributor II
Many times we have automaticaly Labels when we activate the Label Features, but sometimes we need to move a label without transform to graphic. I think that will be important that we will have a label tool that let you to move or edit only a layer from features without lose the link with the table from the feature.
A great idea- the current labels tool is very clunky and frustrating.  I usually end up (with a small dataset at least) drawing text boxes and arranging them manually anyway, but with tons of data this becomes time-consuming. 
Yeah, It becomes time-consuming, sometimes you have to present a map in minutes, but the layout label presentation is the problem.
You can convert the labels to feature linked annotation and move them around as much as you want. This has the same effect as this idea.

What is Annotation?
Feature linked annotation is great for making lots of changes, but quite clunky for just sliding a label over a bit or other minor tweeks.  I don't need to change the text or its formatting, just refine the placement of a few indivedual labels.  Especially with fixed location labels turned on.

With the recent release of ArcGIS Pro and better labeling and symbolizing ribbons instead of mulitple windows, cartographic production will be increasing. Labeling is still one of those task that we all spend a lot of time working on though. Merging the possiblities of dynamic labeling to get most labels placed and then converting to annotations to clean up and add other labels is the only solution right now to create labels that are more cartographically apealling. My idea is to make it possible to dynamically/auto label using the MapPlex option and then have the ability to manually adjust then lock text that I am happy with the placement of. This would reduce data management and allow faster map production. I could easily see this being possible with the new threading capability of the ArcGIS Pro application but would also like to see ArcMap be optimized to be able to draw and label faster with this new labeling technique.

I also like this idea.  What I envision from what you suggest is having a special tool that you can select the dynamic lable with and you manuall place it where you want.  I would further envision a setting such that when you have moved it a given distance a leader will pop into place.

As a refinment to the suggestion what it may result in is placing a Rotation Angle and a Distance from the feature into the feature.  For point features it would Add a value to the Rotation field, which could be either straight or horizontal or perpendicular Alignment Type.  And then add a distance.

Until it happens here is what I do and it works very well.

I add a LablerRotation and LableAngle attribute and make them both short integers.  You can even domain them with a range from 0 to 359.

I then go to every point that has a lable issue and specify a LableRotation...using a Horizontal Allignment.
For Points that a Straight Allignment would work better I enter a value for LableAngle.

I set up rules in labels, if <LableAngle is Null and LableRotation is not Null> then it will lable based on rotation etc...

the component I would like to see added is the ability to set the distance based on a field.

Your proposition is a WYSIWYG format that would be very handy indeed.

But for now give my idea a shot.

I do it based on the output scale that is most common.  i.e. township level. It may be cumbersom at first. but once I set everything it stays.  When you zoom out it will then cause overlap, but any that you zoom in it will maintain its integrity.
We should definitely have the ability to manually place dynamic labels.  Converting them to annotation, moving a dozen of them around, and then deciding you want to change the font and having to start all over is a real pain.  Countless hours are being wasted on this task.

The manual placement of dynamic labels would likely be lost if the map scale were changed, so perhaps when this option is in use, the data frame defaults to Fixed Scale?  If the scale were to change and placements reset, it would be nice if the manual placement could be remembered when the map returned to the original scale.  Even without that ability, it would be a huge step forward.

It would just be nice to have some middle ground between completely automated labels and completely manual labels.
Status changed to: Already Offered

The solution to this in both ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro is to convert the labels to annotation - either in a database or in a map as graphics.

Convert labels to annotation

In order to maintain a link to the base features you will need to convert to feature-linked annotation.


by Anonymous User

@WendyHarrison I highly disagree that this is already offered. I have one label I need to move. Creating annotation is overkill. Also, annotation demands that I pick a scale. Labels scale dynamically when I zoom in and out. So I have to lose functionality to move one label. How about when you create labels - a check box that says, I don't want any of your placement options, I want to place the labels myself. @KoryKramer you're always super helpful - have you run across this idea anywhere? Thank you.


A good place to start when working with text is the Add text on a map topic.  Part way down is a chart that will take you through different tasks and how to do them with labels, graphic text on a map and geodatabase annotation.

If you’re not interested in the overhead of geodatabase annotation you can convert your labels to graphic text and then edit as needed. To have the text elements scale like labels you will need to remove the reference scale from the graphics layer.

Convert labels to annotation main topic

Convert labels to graphics tool topic

To just create a handful of text by pulling the strings from features you can use a graphics layer and the auto text tool.  To then not label those features use an sql query on the label class to prevent those features from labeling