Displaying geodatabase annotation
Geodatabase annotation is added to ArcMap as you would add other data. Annotation appears with other geographic data in the ArcMap table of contents and is drawn according to its order; however, annotation is different from simple point, line, and polygon features because each annotation feature stores information about how it is symbolized. To change the database symbology of annotation, you can either use ArcCatalog or the editing tools in ArcMap.
Learn more about editing annotation in the attributes dialog box
To temporarily change the symbology of geodatabase annotation, you can use symbol substitution, which will save the changes to symbology in the current map but not affect the display of annotation in other maps.
Learn more about symbol substitution
When displaying geodatabase annotation with other layers, it can be useful to apply variable-depth masking to hide parts of layers that are drawn underneath the annotation.
In the contour map example below, contour lines and annotation features overlap each other. However, by using a mask for the annotation, sections of contour lines are hidden, while the elevation shading underneath those layers remains visible.
Learn more about using masking with geodatabase annotation
Viewing default text symbol and labeling properties for geodatabase annotation
By opening the Layer Properties dialog box for an annotation subclass in ArcMap, you can view the default text symbol and labeling properties of annotation in the corresponding annotation class. This is the symbology and labeling information for unedited annotation features in that particular annotation class. This information is read-only in ArcMap, but you can change the properties for annotation using the Feature Class Properties dialog box in ArcCatalog.
Learn more about managing annotation feature classes
- Expand the entry for your annotation layer in the table of contents.
- Double-click an annotation class to open the Layer Properties dialog box.
- Click the Annotation Class tab.
- Click the Text Symbol button to view the default text symbol properties for annotation features in the annotation class.
These properties are read-only in ArcMap.
In ArcMap, you can change the symbology of annotation in a particular map by using symbol substitution. You might do this in situations where you do not want to change the database symbology of your annotation or you cannot change this symbology—for example, you may not have editing privileges on the annotation data. Another useful scenario where you can use symbol substitution is to make a temporary change to the appearance of your annotation. For instance, you might be viewing some black text annotation on top of a dark background, perhaps from an image. You can use symbol substitution to change the color of your annotation to white in the current map. If you save the map, your changes will be saved in the current map but will not affect the display of annotation in other maps. If you don't save your changes in the map, the change in color will be temporary and will be discarded when you close your map. As with any other layer property, you can also save your changes as a separate .lyr file.
By opening the Layer Properties dialog box for an annotation subclass in ArcMap, you can view the default text symbol properties of annotation in the corresponding annotation class. This is the symbology for unedited annotation features in that particular annotation class. This information is read-only in ArcMap, but you can change the text symbol properties for annotation using the Feature Class Properties dialog box in ArcCatalog.
Learn more about managing annotation feature classes
There are three states of symbol substitution:
- Disable substitutions: In this state, symbol substitution is not enabled. Text in your annotation feature class is drawn with its stored symbology. This is the default state. Once you enable symbol substitution, you can return to this state and disable substitution without losing your substitute symbols or colors. After disabling, you can reenable at a later point in time simply by choosing the second or third option.
- Substitute text symbol colors with a single color: In this state, only the color of text is substituted. Text will be displayed using the annotation's stored fonts, font sizes, and so on.
Choose this option if you want to view annotation on top of a different background color than was originally anticipated. For example, you might have black annotation that is now difficult to see on top of an aerial photo. Use this option to change the color of all your annotation to white so that it stands out more clearly against the background.
- Substitute individual symbols in the symbol collection: In this state, the ability to substitute individual symbols in the symbol collection of the annotation feature class is enabled. It is likely that most of your text references a symbol in the symbol collection. The symbol collection symbol is used as the base symbol with which the text is drawn. By substituting this symbol, you can alter the appearance of your text by adding text symbol properties such as halos or shadows or even change the font of the symbol.
When this option is enabled, each original symbol stored in the geodatabase is listed in the dialog box. By default, none of these symbols are substituted. To substitute an individual symbol, press the Properties button to see the complete set of properties for this symbol or to pick a new symbol. Click Restore to reset the Substituted symbol to its original state. You can choose to substitute as many symbols in the collection as you wish. The state of each symbol Not Substituted or Substituted is listed with each symbol. This type of symbol substitution also provides two additional options for controlling the display of text.
- Substitute the color of text stored inline with a single color: When this option is enabled, the color of symbols stored inline is substituted. Symbols stored inline are symbols that do not reference a symbol in the symbol collection. These features can be recognized by their attributes, as they will have a value of -1 in their SymbolID field. Substitution of the symbol collection symbols will not impact the display of these inline stored features. Enable this option and set the color of your choice to substitute the color of these features.
- Symbol Substitution takes precedence over individual symbol overrides: When this option is enabled, text is drawn purely with the symbol from the substitute symbol collection. Individual symbol overrides of annotation features that may normally cause features to differ in appearance from their base symbol will be ignored. To respect the symbol overrides stored in individual features, disable this option. When this option is disabled, the annotation feature will be drawn with the symbol from the substitute symbol collection and any individual overrides applied to that symbol.
Using symbol substitution with geodatabase annotation
- Right-click the annotation layer name in the table of contents and click Properties.
- Click the Symbology tab.
- Choose one of these options:
- Disable substitutions—To display with the original (geodatabase-stored) symbology.
- Substitute text color—To display with the original fonts, font sizes, and so on, with only color changed.
- Substitute individual symbols—To use symbols different from the original in the current layer.
- When substituting individual symbols, check Substitute the color of text stored inline with this color, then specify a color to substitute for annotation features whose original geodatabase symbols are stored in line.
Symbols for these features are not listed in the symbol list, and for these features you can only substitute a color.
- When substituting individual symbols, check Symbol Substitution takes precedence over individual symbol overrides to specify whether symbol substitution takes precedence over stored symbol overrides.
When the box is checked, all annotation features are drawn with the specified substitute symbols, and overrides are ignored. When the check box is not checked, annotation features are drawn with the specified substitute symbols. In cases where overrides are stored, these overrides are applied on top of the substituted symbol.
Optionally, click the Display tab to set a transparency level for your annotation and specify whether the annotation layer should draw based on its position in the table of contents, or click the Annotation tab to see a summary of your annotation layer's properties.
- Click OK.