About annotation features
Annotation is a way to store text to place on your maps. With annotation, each piece of text stores its own position, text string, and display properties. Labels, which are based on one or more attributes of features, are the other primary option for placing text on maps. If the exact position of each piece of text is important, you should store your text as annotation in a geodatabase. Annotation provides flexibility in the appearance and placement of your text because you can select individual pieces of text and edit them. You can convert labels to create new annotation features.
In this exercise, you will convert labels into geodatabase annotation so you can edit the text features.
Preparing the labels for conversion
The map you will use in this exercise contains roads and water features in Zion National Park. The layers in the map have dynamic labels, but some of the map features could not be labeled due to space constraints. When you convert the labels to annotation, you can position each piece of text manually.
- Click the Open button on the Standard toolbar.
- Navigate to the Exercise3.mxd map document in the Editing directory where you installed the tutorial data. (C:\ArcGIS\ArcTutor is the default location.)
- Click the map and click Open.
- If you still have the map document open from the previous exercise and are prompted to close it, you can do so without saving your changes.
- Click Customize, point to Toolbars, then click Labeling.
- To view which labels do not fit, view the unplaced labels. Click the View Unplaced Labels button .
- Click the View Unplaced Labels button again to hide the unplaced labels.
- Type 170000 in the Map Scale box on the Standard toolbar and press ENTER.
- In the table of contents, click the List By Drawing Order button , if it is not already the active way to sort layers. Then, right-click Layers (the name of the data frame), point to Reference Scale, then click Set Reference Scale.
Converting labels to annotation
Annotation can be stored in a map document or in feature classes in a geodatabase. You will convert these labels to annotation stored in a geodatabase. The Convert Labels to Annotation dialog box allows you to specify what kind of annotation to create from the labels, which features to create annotation for, and where the annotation will be stored.
- In the table of contents, right-click Layers and click Convert Labels to Annotation.
- Uncheck the check boxes in the Feature Linked column.
- Verify that Convert unplaced labels to unplaced annotation is checked. This gives you a chance to manually place the annotation for the features that could not be labeled.
- Click Convert.
The labels are converted to annotation. The process should take less than a minute, though the speed depends on your computer. When the annotation feature classes are created, they are added to ArcMap.
Each layer's label classes are stored as separate annotation classes within a single annotation feature class. For example, the two label classes for streams become two annotation classes, Intermittent and Perennial, within the StreamsAnno annotation feature class. These annotation classes can be turned on and off independently, and they can have their own visible scale ranges.
- To continue to the next exercise, click Exercise 3b: Editing annotation features.
You have converted labels to annotation features. Next, you will place them on the map and edit their positions.