Is there any way to have one layer using the Maplex Labelling Engine for labeling and another layer using the Standard Labelling Engine at the same time in ArcMap?


I have uploaded multiple screen shots. Mainly I am trying to be able to have all of the labels line up in the gorman shopping center. And I want to be able to see all the labels.

  • For my own curiosity's sake, why would you want this?
    – GISHuman
    Aug 18, 2014 at 19:35
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    See my edits to the post - I think maplex gives you more control but it takes a bit more tweaking
    – GISHuman
    Aug 18, 2014 at 20:24
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    I think you need to tweak the maplex labels a bit more - like uncheck the "may place labels outside" and "overrun feature" on the polygon placement and substitute with shrink labels if you really need them placed. GISKid is absolutely correct, you can't have both; maplex takes a bit more setting up but the placement is superior to the standard label engine. Aug 18, 2014 at 21:41
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    @MichaelMiles-Stimson and then eventually after all that tweaking you'll find that ONE label that is out of place and decide to convert to annotation ;)
    – GISHuman
    Aug 19, 2014 at 12:44
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    Yes @GISKid that's the way it goes. Maplex will get you to 90% to 95% of cartographic placement: if you want to get a perfect output you can expect to move 5% to 10% of the labels after converting to annotation. With the standard label engine between 20% and 30% of the annotation need to be moved to a 'perfect' placement. In real working hours that can be up to half a days' difference so well worth using the Maplex engine and taking the time to get the placement as good as possible before converting to annotation. Also street/river placement is not possible with the standard engine. Aug 19, 2014 at 21:41

1 Answer 1


No you cannot have one layer using maplex and another layer using standard labeling within the same data frame. However, you could enable standard labeling in a separate dataframe within the same MXD. That way one dataframe would be maplex, and the other would be standard

I don't see why you would want this though, so perhaps if you provide more additional information to your post I could recommend other solutions and give a more thorough answer.


I think labeling comes down to your own personal choice. However, I personally, prefer maplex for labeling. I noticed in your screenshot you just have "regular placement" for address parcels usually I change it to "land parcel placement". You can also click on properties.. to get more options for placement, even resizing text to fit, specifying how far a label can extend past the parcel boundaries, and what labels or shapes hold more weight (so they won't overlap or extend over onto those polygons/lines/points/labels/shapes.

This does a better job outlining Working with Maplex and the Exercise Labeling the parcels with their serial and parcel numbers

EDIT As per your additional update, one thing I noticed under "Fitting Strategy" is you don't have "Reduce font size" selected. I would check that off and specify your lower limit (how small text can be) and as well, change the strategy order so that reduce label size is on top - and play around with the order of the remaining. You could also change the "Feature Weight" of the roads adjacent to your parcels, so that your labels won't overrun on top of the road (and therefore be forced to fit within the polygon boundaries).

Another, additional option if you're only having issues with certain polygons is to create additional label classes and use a SQL query to specify them. Further to this you could always convert to annotation.

  • Just uploaded pictures and provided a better description Aug 18, 2014 at 20:14
  • Ok so in the instance the pink boxes, I would like to get them all the be aligned, any idea on what specs to use in Maplex? I feel like I have tried all of the combinations Aug 19, 2014 at 14:13
  • It can vary depending on your scale (how far are you zoomed in?) and the size of your labels yourself. Typically I change it from "horizontal" to "straight". You could update your question with your settings and a screenshot of your results so I can comment specifically
    – GISHuman
    Aug 19, 2014 at 14:20
  • Is there an email I can go direct with you GISKID? Aug 19, 2014 at 15:43
  • I'm ending my employment shortly thus will not be on the SE as often, but if you want I can help troubleshoot in chat chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/939/gis
    – GISHuman
    Aug 19, 2014 at 18:22

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