Labelling woes... (in Pro or in ArcMap)

08-30-2017 07:04 AM
MVP Honored Contributor

I am not sure there is an "easy" answer to this but I have given up and am relying on GeoNet to pull me out of a jam.

Is there an "easy button" for labelling just the way I want it? Here are about 66 polygons that need labels visible for each one and need to see the polygon. In Pro, this is how they look without much change in the properties:

I want to see all the labels so I choose Never remove. This is what I get:

Even if I throw in a 50 point offset, 200 point max overrun, 50% buffer, 100 point feature weight to interior and boundary features (and other tweaks), this is my result:

Is there some sort of magic button that will not allow labels to overlap each other? I have attempted to mess around with all of the settings in the label properties and have not come up with a good solution (I do have Maplex Label Engine turned on). My best bet is to convert to annotations and move them that way, manually, by hand, one at a time. (small snippet: )

I keep thinking I'm missing something super obvious. Tell me where I can find the easy button (in ArcGIS Pro preferably or ArcMap - it doesn't matter). Thanks!

48 Replies
MVP Esteemed Contributor

How about using Maplex, and Key Numbering as a Fitting Strategy?

About key numbering—Help | ArcGIS for Desktop 

Think Location
MVP Honored Contributor

I had never really used key numbering. I tried it but didn't get the best outcome, unfortunately. Here is a sloppy screenshot

you can see numbers 1 and 2 but other things are thrown around like before.  (the number code is at the top, not shown). Here's another look at a different scale:

So, I'm guessing key numbering isn't really going to give me the magic answer. Thanks for the suggestion! 

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

What are the other fitting strategies you are using? 

Keeping the Key Numbering checked, let me know what happens if you

1. Uncheck Place Overlapping Features under Conflict Detection.

2. Use Halo Mask for Labels instead of the Text Box.

Think Location
MVP Honored Contributor

So I learned that in order to uncheck Place Overlapping Labels in Pro, you have to turn OFF Maplex Label engine:

Place overlapping labels—ArcGIS Pro | ArcGIS Desktop 

Turning this off results in losing many of the other benefits that maplex brings. Here is the result after step 1:

And here is the result after using halos instead of call out boxes:

It looks like there is no magic button for this predicament and have to go with converting to annotations... Thanks for your help!

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Esri Contributor

Hi Adrian,

You don't need to turn off Maplex to turn off the option.  it is called Never remove (place overlapping)

MVP Honored Contributor


I appreciate the note about leaving Maplex on. When I wrote this thread, almost a year and a half ago, I am not sure what version of Pro I was on. Maybe 1.4? From what I recall, that option was not around. I am happy to see it is around now. Or it is very possible that I just missed it altogether. 

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by Anonymous User
Not applicable

The never remove results in the cluster :::: mess that the original post related to. 

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Occasional Contributor II

It would be helpful if key numbering could be enforced for all labels for a given label class.

New Contributor II

Hi Alison,

You can force all labels to key numbering by setting an extreme offset that lays outside the map extents. The ruling applies if a label cannot be placed normally and because it is outside of the map extents it will be given a key number instead.

Hope this helps and isn't too late.