Maplex has a nice feature which can abbreviate labels based on a dictionary that you configure. eg, replace STREET with ST.
However, it seems to be an all-or-nothing setting, with Maplex always replacing the words in the dictionary, even when the abbreviation is not necessary.
In the case below, Maplex has abbreviated STREET even though the word would easily fit in all cases:
In these examples, I want SKITTLE LN and TEMPERANCE LN to be abbreviated, but not the STREET names.
According to the Help File entry mentioned by ChrisW:
the Maplex Label Engine first attempts to place the full text of the label, then abbreviates any words found in the dictionary for labels that could not be placed.
Why then is Maplex abbreviating the word STREET in these examples below?
I've simplified the options so that the only Fitting Strategy used is Abbreviation Dictionary. The style is Centered Straight with Regular placement. Using a line featureclass in an fGDB. The selected line is a single feature, so it's clear there is ample room for the full label. There are no other layers drawn.
It sure looks like a bug to me....