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Convert labels to annotation

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The labels that Maplex for ArcGIS generates are dynamic labels—they are placed each time the map is redrawn on the screen, unless you lock the labels using the Lock Labels button on the Labeling toolbar. When you save a map that uses the ESRI Maplex Label Engine, the map can be shared with others who have Maplex for ArcGIS installed on their computer, and the same parameters will be used to place the labels. However, people who have ArcMap but not Maplex for ArcGIS cannot see labels created using Maplex for ArcGIS.

To share the labels, you must convert them into annotation and store them in a particular map document or in a geodatabase.

Storing annotation in a map document is a good option if there is relatively little of it, usually less than 100 pieces,and if it is only intended to be used with that map. Map document annotation may be organized into annotation groups, which can also be used to store other graphics. This kind of annotation is only editable using the tools on the Drawing toolbar and cannot be shared between map documents.

Storing annotation in a geodatabase is generally a better option than storing it in a map document. Annotation in a geodatabase is stored in annotation feature classes. These are editable with the Editor and Annotation toolbars and can be added to many maps. Drawing performance is better with geodatabase annotation, and such annotation is easier to edit and share.

In this example the map’s labels will be converted to annotation stored in a geodatabase so they can be shared by other departments.

The Convert Labels to Annotation dialog box allows you to convert the labels from each of the visible labeled layers on the map. If you did not want to convert a layer’s labels to annotation, you could uncheck that layer in the ArcMap table of contents or turn labeling off for it before starting to convert the labels. You can convert labels to annotation for one layer at a time by right-clicking the layer instead of the data frame, then clicking Convert labels to annotation.

In this example the labels will be converted to standard annotation, and to reduce processing time, only the labels in the current extent will be converted.

The Append check boxes allow you to store the new annotation features in an existing annotation feature class. There are no annotation feature classes in this geodatabase, so this option isn't used in this example. The names of the new annotation features classes are shown in the Annotation Feature Class column. You could type a new name for each annotation class, but for this example the default names are used.

The Browse buttons beside the new annotation feature class names let you navigate to a geodatabase to store the annotation. In this example the annotation is stored in the same geodatabase as the feature classes on the map.

The Properties buttons let you control some details of how the annotation is stored and how it will behave during editing. You can enforce a consistent style and reduce database storage space for the annotation by requiring editors of the annotation features to select the symbol from the annotation symbol table. When you create feature-linked annotation, you can also control whether or not new annotation features are created when new features are created in the related feature class and whether the annotation will be updated when a related feature’s shape is edited. When you store the annotation in a multiuser geodatabase, you can also specify a configuration keyword to set RDBMS-specific storage parameters for the feature class. These advanced annotation properties are not set in this example.

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