Increase Label Buffer in Maplex
On a "Area of Interest" layer I have, Maplex is set to place the label outside of the polygon whenever the label is too large to fit inside of the polygon. This effect looks great for areas that do not have surrounding labels. However if Maplex places the label in areas that already have several labels near by they look crowded. In these cases I would rather that the label not be placed at all. Unfortunately, with Maplex we can only buffer labels up to 50% of the font height. Is there a way to increase this buffer amount so that the labels do not have to be so crowded?
By Default, the Maplex label engine will only buffer up to 50% of the font height.
Mapping Center Answer:
Interesting problem. First, in Maplex Properties, on the conflict resolution tab, in the label buffer area, make sure the Hard Constraints option is checked. Also make sure the Never Remove label option is turned off. In trying this I also assumed that the boundary weight is set to 1000. So, I was successful in producing an ambiguously labeled map.
The first idea I tried, and didn't think too much of, was to set up leader lines for the text--I found out that very few of my labels actually were inside their polygons. While clearer, the map was difficult to read.
The second idea, which worked along the lines of what you indicated would be acceptable involved setting the boundary label weight to 500, and changing the polygon outline symbol to be much lighter--so the labels were not visually confused with the polygon outlines. That worked much better (I was still using leader lines), and better looking still when I unchecked the May Place Labels Outside option. This result allowed some overrun and the labels generally were centered on their polygons. So in the end it wasn't necessary to resort to using leader lines.
Hopefully that helps.
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