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Displaying annotation

Release 9.3
Last modified September 29, 2009
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About displaying annotation

Geodatabase annotation is added to ArcMap as you would add other data. Annotation appears with other geographic data in the ArcMap table of contents; however, annotation is different from simple point, line, and polygon features because each annotation feature stores information about how it is symbolized. To change the database symbology of annotation, you can either use ArcCatalog or the editing tools in ArcMap.
Learn more about editing annotation in the attributes dialog box
In ArcMap, you can change the symbology of annotation in a particular map by using symbol substitution. You might do this in situations where you do not want to change the database symbology of your annotation or you cannot change this symbology—for example, you may not have editing privileges on the annotation data. Another useful scenario where you can use symbol substitution is to make a temporary change to the appearance of your annotation. For instance, you might be viewing some black text annotation on top of a dark background, perhaps from an image. You can use symbol substitution to change the color of your annotation to white in the current map. If you save the map, your changes will be saved in the current map but will not affect the display of annotation in other maps. If you don't save your changes in the map, the change in color will be temporary and will be discarded when you close your map. As with any other layer property, you can also save your changes as a separate .lyr file.
By opening the Layer Properties dialog box for an annotation subclass in ArcMap, you can view the default text symbol properties of annotation in the corresponding annotation class. This is the symbology for unedited annotation features in that particular annotation class. This information is read-only in ArcMap, but you can change the text symbol properties for annotation using the Feature Class Properties dialog box in ArcCatalog.
Learn more about managing annotation feature classes


Displaying CAD and VPF annotation

You can display and query CAD and VPF annotation in ArcMap. You can add annotation in these formats to ArcMap as a layer, select and identify the annotation, and change the display properties of the annotation in ArcMap. Editing of annotation in these formats is not supported, so you cannot edit the position or appearance of individual pieces of annotation.

You can use ArcMap to convert CAD and VPF annotation to geodatabase annotation. Geodatabase annotation is fully supported by ArcGIS, meaning that you can edit it. An essential step in converting to geodatabase annotation is to first correctly set the display properties of your CAD or VPF annotation.

Learn how to convert VPF annotation to geodatabase annotation
Learn how to convert coverage or CAD annotation to geodatabase annotation

ArcMap interprets CAD and VPF annotation similarly. Both formats appear as layers in the ArcMap table of contents. You can change the display properties for CAD annotation layers on the Fonts tab of the Layer Properties dialog box, and you can change the display properties of VPF annotation layers on the Layer Properties dialog box and on the Symbols tab.

Learn more about annotation in ArcGIS

CAD and VPF annotation placement


You cannot edit the placement of CAD annotation or VPF annotation in ArcMap. Also, although you can view the attribute table in ArcMap for CAD and VPF annotation layers, the table is not editable. In ArcGIS, only geodatabase annotation and map document annotation are editable.


Displaying coverage and SDE 3 annotation

You can display and query ArcInfo Workstation coverage annotation, PC ARC/INFO coverage annotation, and SDE 3 annotation and change their display properties in ArcMap. However, editing of annotation in these formats is not supported, so you cannot edit the position or appearance of individual pieces of annotation in these formats.

You can use ArcMap to convert these types of annotation to geodatabase annotation. Geodatabase annotation is fully editable in ArcGIS. An essential step in converting to geodatabase annotation is to first correctly set the display properties of your ArcInfo Workstation coverage, PC ARC/INFO, or SDE 3 annotation.

ArcMap interprets coverage annotation, PC ARC/INFO annotation, and SDE 3 annotation in a similar manner. All three formats appear as layers in the ArcMap table of contents. You can change display properties for these layers on the Symbols tab of the Layer Properties dialog box.
As in ArcInfo Workstation, the display of these annotation types in ArcMap is based on pseudo item values stored in the coverages. One difference between ArcMap and ArcInfo Workstation is that ArcMap cannot access the textset file (used in ArcInfo Workstation to match text symbols to the annotation). Consequently, you need to manually specify the text symbol in ArcMap to be used for each $SYMBOL value in your coverage on the Layer Properties dialog box.

The following are some other factors to consider when displaying coverage, PC ARC/INFO, and SDE 3 annotation in ArcMap.



Learn more about displaying coverage annotation

Learn more about annotation in general

Coverage and SDE 3 annotation placement



In ArcGIS, you can't edit the placement of coverage or SDE 3 annotation in ArcMap. To enable editing, you must first convert the coverage annotation to geodatabase annotation. Due to differences between ArcMap and ArcPlot, the display of coverage annotation in ArcMap may not be identical to what is in ArcPlot. To correct this difference, you can define the symbology before converting the annotation since it is easier to make global changes at this stage.


Symbol substitution

In ArcMap, you can change the symbology of annotation in a particular map by using symbol substitution. You might do this in situations where you do not want to change the database symbology of your annotation or you cannot change this symbology—for example, you may not have editing privileges on the annotation data. Another useful scenario where you can use symbol substitution is to make a temporary change to the appearance of your annotation. For instance, you might be viewing some black text annotation on top of a dark background, perhaps from an image. You can use symbol substitution to change the color of your annotation to white in the current map. If you save the map, your changes will be saved in the current map but will not affect the display of annotation in other maps. If you don't save your changes in the map, the change in color will be temporary and will be discarded when you close your map. As with any other layer property, you can also save your changes as a separate .lyr file.
By opening the Layer Properties dialog box for an annotation subclass in ArcMap, you can view the default text symbol properties of annotation in the corresponding annotation class. This is the symbology for unedited annotation features in that particular annotation class. This information is read-only in ArcMap, but you can change the text symbol properties for annotation using the Feature Class Properties dialog box in ArcCatalog.
Learn more about managing annotation feature classes

There are three states of symbol substitution:




How to display annotation

Using symbol substitution with geodatabase annotation

  1. Right-click the annotation layer name in the table of contents and click Properties.
  2. Click the Symbology tab.
  3. Choose one of these options:

  4. When substituting individual symbols, check the first box, then specify a color to substitute for annotation features whose original geodatabase symbols are stored inline.
  5. Symbols for these features are not listed in the symbol list, and for these features you can only substitute a color.
  6. When substituting individual symbols, check the second box to specify whether symbol substitution takes precedence over stored symbol overrides.
  7. When the box is checked, all annotation features are drawn with the specified substitute symbols and overrides are ignored. When the box is not checked, annotation features are drawn with the specified substitute symbols. In cases where overrides are stored, these overrides are applied on top of the substituted symbol.
    Optionally, click the Display tab to set a transparency level for your annotation and specify whether the annotation layer should draw based on its position in the table of contents, or click the Annotation tab to see a summary of your annotation layer's properties.
  8. Click OK.

Tips

  • Editing while symbol substitution is in use is not recommended. Editing geodatabase annotation may result in changes to the symbol of the text. If that symbol is being substituted, the edit may produce unexpected results.

  • Large changes to the size of the annotation, either through changing the text symbol size or by adding a balloon callout or marker symbol background, will result in a difference between the selection boundary and the displayed text.

  • Symbol substitution is not designed to be a wholesale replacement of annotation symbol editing and symbol management. It is provided to make occasional changes of text symbology for dynamic map display and map production.


Viewing default text symbol properties for geodatabase annotation

  1. Expand the entry for your annotation layer in the table of contents.
  2. Double-click an annotation class to open the Layer Properties dialog box.
  3. Click the Annotation Class tab.
  4. Click the Text Symbol button to view the default text symbol properties for annotation features in the annotation class.
  5. These properties are read-only in ArcMap.

Tip

  • If your annotation is feature-linked, click the Placement Properties button to view the placement properties for annotation features in the annotation class. These properties are read-only in ArcMap.

Changing the display of CAD annotation

  1. Right-click the annotation layer name in the table of contents and click Properties.
  2. Click the Fonts tab.
  3. Click an entry in the list of symbol numbers to see its display properties.
  4. Modify the display properties as necessary.
  5. Changing the size will have no effect for CAD annotation.
  6. Click the Text Symbol button to choose another text symbol or to change additional properties.
  7. Repeat steps 3 to 5 for all symbols as desired.
  8. Click OK.

Tips

  • You cannot change the size of CAD annotation in ArcMap.
  • Because ArcMap uses only TrueType fonts, the appearance of your CAD annotation in ArcMap may differ from its appearance in the originating CAD software. Some CAD software vendors offer TrueType equivalents for their fonts. Obtaining these equivalent fonts will allow you to create a more exact appearance match in ArcMap.
  • Learn more about creating and working with text symbols


Changing the display of VPF annotation

  1. Right-click the annotation layer name in the table of contents and click Properties.
  2. Click the Symbols tab.
  3. Click the entry in the symbol list to see your text's display properties.
  4. Modify the display properties as necessary.
  5. Click the Text Symbol button to choose another text symbol or to change additional properties.
  6. Click OK.

Tips

  • You can only specify one text symbol for your VPF annotation layer. All text in your layer will be displayed with this symbol.
  • You can toggle the display of VPF annotation levels on the Levels tab of the Layer Properties dialog box.
  • Learn more about creating and working with text symbols
  • If your VPF annotation contains leader lines, an additional symbol chooser will appear at the bottom of the Symbols tab in the Layer Properties dialog box. Leader lines do not respect any text size settings for the text with which they are associated. Therefore, you should size the symbol appropriately and set a reference scale in the data frame if you want to ensure proper relative sizing between the leader line and the text.


Changing the display of coverage annotation

  1. Right-click the annotation layer name in the table of contents and click Properties.
  2. Click the Symbols tab.
  3. Click an entry in the list of symbol numbers ($SYMBOL) to see its display properties.

  4. Modify the display properties as necessary.
  5. Click the Text Symbol button to choose another text symbol or to change additional properties.
  6. Repeat steps 3 to 5 for all symbols as desired.
  7. Click OK.

Tips

  • When displaying coverage annotation, make sure that the entire coverage is drawn at least once at full extent. This ensures that ArcMap will add each unique level and symbol to the lists on the Levels and Symbols tabs. ArcMap initially scans the annotation coverage for unique levels and symbols but only searches the current extent. Consequently, all levels and symbols may not be listed if you do not initially allow the coverage to draw at full extent.
  • You can toggle the display of coverage annotation levels ($LEVEL) on the Levels tab of the Layer Properties dialog box.
  • All symbols for all levels are listed on the Symbols tab. The list of symbols has nothing to do with which levels are visible or whether or not a given symbol is used within a given level.
  • Learn more about setting up the display coverage annotation in ArcMap to match the display in ArcPlot or ArcEdit
    Learn more about creating and working with text symbols
  • If your coverage or SDE 3 annotation contains leader lines, an additional symbol chooser will appear at the bottom of the Symbols tab in the Layer Properties dialog box. Clicking the arrow symbol shown will open the Symbol Properties dialog box allowing you to choose a symbol. Coverage annotation leader lines do not respect any $SIZE settings for the text with which they are associated, so you should size the symbol appropriately and set a reference scale in the data frame if you want to ensure proper relative sizing between the leader line and the text.

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