Unable to select annoted labels to move them - going bananas

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12-13-2019 12:03 PM
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New Contributor II

I have ArcGIS Desktop 10.6.1. I've been happily editing away on this fairly large and complicated geologic map for several months when suddenly, yesterday, I ran into an obstacle that has put the project at a complete standstill: I'm no longer able to select annotated labels, but only for ONE feature set. It just so happens that this is the attitudes feature set with all of the strike and dip symbols, which is arguably THE most important part of a geologic map.

My annotations are stored in the map, and I am working in data view. When I click the "select elements" tool and then click on a label, the cursor hangs for several seconds and then changes to a "move" tool (looks like 2 crossed perpendicular arrows). Once this happens there is no way to select an annotated label, and there is no way to get the cursor to change back to the select arrow, it remains stuck as a move cursor. I can click on it again and again and nothing happens, it just stays as the move tool. I can change to other tools (zoom, pan, etc.) and they work fine, but the select tool does not. This includes the main select arrow, and the one in the Draw toolbar. If I right-click > properties and wait a seemingly extortionate number of seconds, it brings up a Picture Properties dialog, which is useless. 

When trying to select an annotated label from the geologic units feature set, the cursor hangs for a few seconds, turns to the move cursor, but clicking the label AGAIN and then waiting a few more seconds, will usually allow me to select, move, or right-click and edit the label properties. While this process is still laborious and long, it at least works. 

This began as an intermittent problem, and restarting the program does not help. Up until yesterday, restarting the entire workstation would fix it for a short time. Now, even restarting the machine doesn't help. I'm really at a loss here, the problem started suddenly and seemingly with no real cause. I initially thought it to be a memory issue and deleted several reference rasters, I have cleared the cache, I have hidden all annotation groups except for the one I am working on. Nothing seems to work. 

I have opened previous versions of the file, which actually included MORE labels on the problem feature set, and the problem does not occur! 

Anyone having this problem that might have a workaround? Getting desperate.

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New Contributor II

Update!

I was able to "select all" from the edit menu, copy the entire annotation group stored in the map, and paste them back into a feature class. I can now edit them in the editor menu rather than the drawing menu. And it's SO much faster to work with. I'm now going to go back and move all of the other labels stored in the map into a database. 

Luckily I didn't pull out ALL my hair on the issue! Thanks for the suggestion of the feature class. I did not know that it was possible to move them after they were already annotated in the map. This is wonderful. 

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You can try several things.  Has the coordinate system changed lately?  Annotation stored in the map and not in a feature class is bad practice.   Try selecting them and copy paste into a new map and see if the problem persists.   Try saving mxd as a new name. Try using mxd doctor, make a copy of the mxd first.

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New Contributor II

Hi there. No changes have been made to the coordinate system. My problem is that I am unable to select them, so I cannot try selecting them and copy pasting into a new map. I have tried saving as a newly named file with no success. I will try mxd doctor. 

Unfortunately, I didn't have much choice on how the annotations were stored, as they were created before my time. 

I have opened a previous version of the project, and the problem is non-existent. It seems to have gradually been happening with each newly saved version. First, I could click twice (once to get it to change cursor, and then again to select), but on the latest version, the cursor just stays as a "move" icon. 

The project does allow me to select a label from a different shapefile, at which point I can see the "arrow" cursor. At this point I can draw a box around the non-selectable labels, and they occasionally (randomly??) do get selected, and I can move them. This is not ideal, as sometimes they will select, other times, they will not. If I click on anything else, the "move" cursor reappears and nothing can be done. 

I have also tried opening the file on a different workstation, and the same problem persists. 

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New Contributor II

Update: I attempted to use mxd doctor, but it crashes every single time. My mxd is less than 21mb in file size. I don't know what could be causing it to crash while analyzing.

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New Contributor II

Update!

I was able to "select all" from the edit menu, copy the entire annotation group stored in the map, and paste them back into a feature class. I can now edit them in the editor menu rather than the drawing menu. And it's SO much faster to work with. I'm now going to go back and move all of the other labels stored in the map into a database. 

Luckily I didn't pull out ALL my hair on the issue! Thanks for the suggestion of the feature class. I did not know that it was possible to move them after they were already annotated in the map. This is wonderful. 

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