Ask A Cartographer

Transparent box behind annotation needed

February 23 2010 | 2 comments
Categories: Labeling, Symbology

I have multiple annotation layers on a map that will be published. There is a lot going on underneath the annotation and I want the text to stand out more from the background. What I would like to do is place a transparent white box underneath the text to make it stand out more from the background without completely masking it. Is there a way to (preferably) automate this? There is a lot of annotation involved? A halo mask of the annotation won't work as the text is small and it just makes it look blurry and the person I'm making the map for doesn't like how it looks. Thanks.

Mapping Center Answer:

I believe that variable depth masking is the tool you are looking for. With this tool, you can choose which layers under the text to mask out and it works really well with a background that varies in color (e.g., a hillshade or a combination hillshade-hypsometric tint).  The good thing for you is that you use this with annotation, which you already have!  So you are most of the way there! 

For graphics from a demo, and step-by-step instructions, check out the bottom notes of the Creating Advanced Effects for Cartography in ArcMap presentation on the Presentations page of Mapping Center.

masking in Arcview 9.3 posted by Jonathan Frishtick on Aug 17 2010 11:18AM
Are there any techniques like variable depth mapping available in Arcview 9.3? Specifically for labeling topographic contours?
Variable Depth Masking is in all license levels posted by Aileen Buckley on Aug 17 2010 11:51AM
If you check out the following Functionality Matrix for 9.3.1, you will see that Variable Depth Masking is available at all license levels:

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