How do I delete an individual label without converting the entire data frame into annotation?

2 Answers 2


If you don't want to convert your labels to graphics or annotation then you can always use label SQL queries and label definitions For example if you only wanted to label a field TYPE with the field value "Forest" you could write:

  • So I have a series of pipe runs labeled as pipe size but in a paticular area on the map i dont want any labels to show but the rest of the same sized pipes should maintain there labels. Please let me know if you can help with this.
    – Matt
    Jun 6, 2014 at 14:41
  • Two solutions (there are many): 1. Create two layers, select the pipes you want to label for one and another layer of the pipes you don't want to label as another. 2. Create an additional field called "label" select the one's you don't want to label and use the field calculator and put in the value as "1", then invert your selection and do "0". Then use the label expressions as I posted above but as "Label" = '0'
    – GISHuman
    Jun 6, 2014 at 14:45
  • Thanks GISKid, as you can tell Im a novice to ArcGIS and may need further assistance. This was a good fix but seems to not be the most efficient because it forces me to break up my shapefile/database. Thanks again for your help.
    – Matt
    Jun 6, 2014 at 15:01
  • Agreed, not the most ideal. Annotations aren't all that bad if you link them to a feature class in a database. That way it updates with your edits/changes.
    – GISHuman
    Jun 6, 2014 at 15:16
  • 1
    @user31107 Yes? In your pipe data create an attribute labelme. Yes/no, 0/1, whatever. Select the pipes you don't want labeled and give them the no value for that attribute. Set your label field to be pipe size, and then hit the expression button and make the necessary SQL statement. IE, where labelme != no or where labelme = yes (note correct syntax depends on the data types and statement). You may have to split your pipes into segments where they pass into or out of the area, but the decision is based on an attribute, with no need for two separate layers.
    – Chris W
    Jun 6, 2014 at 19:35

You can't really control (or delete) an individual label, as they're dynamic. The best you can do is work with the placement properties in either the Standard or Maplex engine to try and get them where you want. In this case, those won't really help. There are a couple of solutions, one of which is the label classes GISKid mentions. But this requires data modification in some way.

Another option that doesn't is to create a label suppression mask. Either with the Draw tools to create a graphic shape, or create a new feature class and draw a shape around the area you don't want labels to appear. Then change the symbology of the mask to no outline and no fill, or make it 100% transparent. With the correct labeling settings (ie conflict resolution between labels and your suppression layer and/or graphic - this should work by default without changing anything), labels will not be drawn under the mask shape because it's a conflict, but you won't see the shape and will see everything under it.

label mask

In the above example I use a graphic. If you have a lot of these you might be better off with a masking feature class. The square is visible because I have it selected, but if it weren't you wouldn't see anything. I won't get into label weights and such, which you may need to read about if you go the feature class route. Reading through all of the Labeling Help section might be of value as well.

  • This is a great solution as well, I think your answer would be easier understood (by this ArcGIS beginner) with some picture examples though.
    – GISHuman
    Jun 6, 2014 at 19:12
  • This works perfectly, I can only think of one problem if i were to use this method; if someone came along and wanted the previous labels they would not know where they are. Thanks again!
    – Matt
    Jun 6, 2014 at 20:09
  • @user31107 Well, to clarify the labels are 'still there' just not drawn - as I said labels are dynamic. It's better to think of them as a property of an object rather than as objects themselves (unless you convert to annotation, which isn't a label). And yes, invisible graphics will be harder to locate than features, though the lack of labels would clue you one is there. You can also just drag the Select Elements tool (black arrow, not the white one) across the screen to select anything there. You just have to make sure you document what you do so they don't have figure it out. :)
    – Chris W
    Jun 6, 2014 at 20:17

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