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Automatically make label halo colors match feature symbols

June 24 2010 | 2 comments
Categories: Labeling, Symbology

Is there an easy way to generate labels with halos that match the feature they are labeling? For example, I'm showing a bunch of watersheds (each a differnt color) over hillshade and other data. I'd like to label the watersheds with halos to improve readability, but I want the halos to blend with the feature color. Surely there is an easier way than changing each label/annotation by hand, right?

Mapping Center Answer:

What you need to use is Variable Depth Masking.  We wrote up some good instructions for this in our 2004 User Conference Presentation "Creating Advanced Cartographic Effects" -- download the PDF for this from our Other Reources - Presentations - 2008 and Older page and the bottom notes will walk you through the procedure.

Good answer, but not what I was looking for posted by Jenny Reiman on Jun 24 2010 2:13PM
Thanks for the response. I found the presentation you referenced (, Slide 25/PDF Page 29, if anyone else is looking).

The instructions for making masks to hide some layers while letting the background colors show through are fine. Unfortunately I'm not working in a geodatabase; I'm working in shapefiles with the annotation stored in the map. I suppose I'll stick to changing all my halo colors to match my features by hand. Thanks anyway.
Requires a geodatabase posted by Aileen Buckley on Jun 24 2010 6:16PM
Yes, you are right -- variable depth masking does require you to use a geodatabase.

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