Allow annotation changes without creating new symbol IDs

03-30-2012 10:17 AM
Status: Open
Labels (1)
New Contributor III
When making changes to annotation symbology a new symbol collection is created and the previous settings are retained and marked as *_Old or *_Old_1, etc.  Existing annotation has to be moved to the new ID.  When working large volumes of annotation this becomes a huge undertaking before all the anno is moved and you can delete the *_Old symbol collection.

This wouldn't be as bad if the format fields in the anno table were actually used by ArcObjects.  Currently they are there only for human interpretation with the actual settings stored in XML as CLOBs deep within the geodatabase model.
YES!  Great, super idea...

I have spent the last several days trying to clean up almost 1 million annotation records and get the symbol IDs all squared away.  This SUCKED SUCKED SUCKED worse than just about anything I've ever tried to accomplish using Esri tools.  

Esri DEFINITELY needs to fix up the way they handle annotation, and make the anno feature classes and symbols easier to manage.
Annotation is far too fiddly to manage as it is. It should be much easier to make changes that are reversible without "messing it up".
The test properties of an Annotation must be easier to change, especially when working with large numbers of annotations

ESRI apparently stopped work on annotation back before 2012. They are too busy adding new unfinished features to finish the existing ones.

I was blindsided by this last week. It's such a big problem for me that I thought maybe it would all be better on Monday, but no, it's still here.

You can LOOK at symbol properties but all changes are disabled. This feels cruel to me. You get one chance to get it right when creating a new symbol, once it's created you can only delete it and try again. You cannot test and refine without paying a heavy price in hours spent.

There is so much unfinished work in Annotation Feature Classes, none of this surprises me. Okay-- so it's a pain because you have to do a lot of fiddly work to change a symbol, no big deal, we have ARCPY!!!

Oh oh... go look at the Arcpy toolset for annotation feature classes... it's, well, nonexistent.

Be warned, anno feature classes look and act like normal feature classes and you can try to treat them as such but none of the arcpy tools will work. I tried everything.

You can't change old symbols.

You can't automate creating new symbols.

You can't iterate over an annotation feature class.

When you create a new symbol it will be assigned a sequential number and you have to use Field Calculator (or Calculate Field in a model) to update the old number to the new one. This means creating a mapping to move the old number to the new one. There is no way to export the existing symbols for reference.

If you get it wrong, you end up with empty red boxes where your annotation used to be, and there seems to be no way back from that.