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Edit Symbology for non-Feature Linked Annotation?

November 16 2010 | 0 comments
Categories: Labeling

Hello! I have a large mxd with multiple data frames. I have used Maplex and annotation, and have delivered to the client. The client has changed his/her mind and wants a different set of symbols. I can't find a way to change the symbology without changing the symbology in the layer and making brand new annotation, which would force me to repeat the work of repositioning the annotation. Is there an easier way? Thank you!

Mapping Center Answer:

You can change the layer symbology properties for annotation without changing or recreating the annotation features in order to give them a different look on another map.

One option is to right click on the annotation layer in ArcMap's Table of Contents, and go to its Properties.  Then, under the Symbology tab, you can opt to "Substitute individual symbols in the symbol collection".  Then, if you click on the Properties button, you can edit the appearance and properties of the annotation feature class. The important thing is that you do so in an edit session.

You can also edit the annotation features in an edit session.  You can select all of the annotation within a specific annotation feature class or subtype (which is based on the label class originally used to create the annotation) and change the properties of the selected features by calculating new values, or using the editor's by attributes window.

You should be aware though that if you change the properties of the annotation drastically, you could end up with a result that is not graphically desirable and in some cases, illegible.  If you are only changing properties like color and/or a slight increase or reduction in font size, you should be ok.  On the other hand, if you are changing other properties like character spacing, x/y offsets, or horizontal and vertical alignment, you could run into issues of illegibility and conflict with other features and labels in your map.  Even something as simple as changing river text from a serif font to a san serif font can lead to illegible labels.

The bottom line is that if you only want to make slight changes to the annotation, then you can do it using the two methods described above.  If the changes are more significant, we advise that you make the changes on the labels and then recreate the annotation.

To read more about annotation and the properties that you can edit, visit the help topic What is annotation? 

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