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Viewing All Labels and Converting to Annotation to Deal with Label Conflicts


When using the automatic labeling options in ArcMap labels will sometimes be excluded due to label conflicts (not enough space for the labels given the map scale, the label size and the feature spacing). While this is nice for presenting clean maps, it is sometimes desirable to make sure that everything is indeed being labeled. Converting labels to annotation allows the cartographer to then manually position the annotation so as to eliminate the overlaps.



Default layer, no labels added...


Right-click and choose Label Features to add labels using the default field and label size, font, etc.)


Note that not all city labels are included in the crowded areas - at least at this map scale

We're going to assume that this is the map scale we want...


Changing the label properties might help...

Right-click and choose Properties


From the Labels tab the font size, etc can be modified (smaller font sizes will allow more labels without overlapping)

Note: keep in mind that labels need to be big enough to read


Fewer labels have been lost, but still some are missing. And we don't want to make the labels much smaller...


So lets see them all.

Back to the Layer Properties and the Labels tab. Click on Placement Properties


Under the Conflict Detection tab, check the Place Overlapping Labels box


OK, OK...


Now all the labels are shown, and sure enough, some do overlap (this is what ArcMap was trying to avoid).


To fix this, we'll need to convert to annotation so we can manually position the text where we want it

Right-click and choose Convert Labels to Annotation


Annotation can be either In the Map or In a Database (i.e., an existing Geodatabase). For most purposes In the Map is fine

Choose to convert the labels for All Features, or just those Features in Current Extent of the display

Since we are showing all labels, the check box for Convert Unplaced Labels to Unplaced Annotation doesn't matter


Now the pieces of annotation can be selected and placed wherever you want

(May need to add arrows or leader lines to connect the text to the feature)

Or some annotation can be deleted, but you get to choose which ones are shown (instead of leaving it up to ArcMap)



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