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Moving labels in Layout

July 23 2009 | 0 comments
Categories: Labeling, Map Elements, Page Layout


At UC I attended the technical workshop "Map Compilation and Page Layout" led by G.C.Emmanuel and T.Fisher and I was very impressed by the ability to move labels in the layout view when the data frame is "focused". I tried it using 9.3 but I couldn't make it work. Were they using 9.3.1 or could they please send me the step-by-step description of how to do that?
Thank you very much.

Mapping Center Answer:

I am pretty sure that what you saw demonstrated was adding graphic label text while in a focused data frame. The online help for this subject is Adding new text to a map

When you place any graphic text in a focused data frame, it retains its position relative to other features, geographically. When you place graphic text in an unfocused data frame, it stays in its position on the page, even if you change the extent or scale of the mapped area.

The advantage of using graphic label text is that you can easily add a label to your map -- the text will be associated with a single feature, and the text string will be derived from a feature attribute.

To add graphic label text to a focused data frame, first focus the data frame by double clicking the data frame – a hatch pattern should appear around the edges of the data frame. To add graphic label text:

  1. Click the Label Manager button on the Labeling toolbar.
  2. Check the box next to the layer you want to label.
  3. Choose a label class under the layer.
  4. Click the Label Field dropdown arrow and click the attribute field you want to use as a label.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click the Label tool on the Draw toolbar. You may have to click the dropdown arrow to choose the Label tool because there are options in addition to label text.
  7. Click Place label at position clicked. If you click Automatically find best placement, ArcMap finds the best location for the label.
  8. Click Choose a style and click the label style you want.
  9. Click the feature you want to label. ArcMap labels the feature.

This tool is best used when there are only a few labels you need to place on the map – if you need to label lots of features in a feature class, using Label Manager (and Maplex) would be easier.

To learn more about focused data frames, read the blog entry that a colleague of ours recently wrote for Mapping Center called "The State of Data Frames in Layout View".

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