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rectangle text tool with rotated text

March 06 2009 | 6 comments
Categories: Map Elements

I have a large map on which the legend and accompanying text will be placed in a strip across the bottom of the map. I want the text, map legend, scale bar, etc in this strip, all rotated so that the top of the text is to the left (this will allow the map to be folded correctly and have the map cover and legend read correctly when folded like a highway map).

I thought the rectangle text tool would be a great option to get my few paragraphs of text placed. However, when I rotate the text in the text rectangle 90 degrees, the text is no longer placed inside the rectangle - in fact, it becomes a garbled mess of words and is totally unusable. Is there a way to get this to work, or do I need to create my text someplace else and add it as a graphic to my layout? (Very disappointing if this is the case.)

Mapping Center Answer:

The only workaround, that I know about, is to produce the text separately, export as a sufficiently high resolution image format (GIF or PNG if no color is involved), and put it in your map as a picture.  You could try using a word processor and copy the text out and paste (which will paste an EMF), but I'm not confident the quality will match other horizontal text.

Rotated text posted by Aileen Buckley on Mar 6 2009 3:54PM
You can easily rotate graphic text that you place in a map layout -- just change the Angle. This works for New Text but not New Rectangle Text. The only added work is that you have to insert line breaks where you want them.
Rotate the legend and scale bar posted by Aileen Buckley on Mar 6 2009 3:59PM
You can rotate the legend and scale bar pretty easily, too, but they will have to be converted to graphics first. Simply select the map element (legend or scale bar), right click, select Convert to Graphics, right click again, select Ungroup, right click again, and select Group. Then click Drawing on the Drawing toolbar, click Rotate or Flip and rotate the elements the way you want to.
Rotating a Text Rectangle would still be better posted by Terese Rowekamp on Mar 9 2009 6:36PM
Thanks for the additional comments. I know you can change the angle of regular text, but I have a number of paragraphs of background to put on the map and you can understand why the text rectangle (which would wrap the text for me) would have been such a nice option. I can put the returns into the text to force the line breaks, but if I need to change the width of the text area, I have to redo that work. I'd like to rotating the text rectangle as an enhancement to ArcGIS Desktop in the future.
Agreed posted by Charlie Frye on Mar 10 2009 9:33AM
It's just a bug right now--and for the near term.
yep... posted by Jon Ball on Jun 27 2013 1:48AM
and it is still a bug 6 years later...
We know... posted by Aileen Buckley on Jun 27 2013 1:38PM
Rotating the polygon causes the text to still draw horizontal. This is by design. Changing the angle of the text symbol leads to the bug NIM083183: Paragraph text elements are corrupted when rotated. This is on the development list but pretty low down. If you want to submit this to ArcGIS Ideas ( then it might move higher up the priority list!

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