I've been able to create and use an abbreviation dictionary using the Maplex labeling engine easily enough; however, when I tried to recreate labeling using an annotation feature class in a geodatabase, no dictionaries show up to be selected. I was doing this mostly as an exercise and don't need to use an annotation feature class, but I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this and if it's just a glitch.

Edit: To clarify, I was attempting to create abbreviated labels in an annotation feature class using this process: Create new annotation feature class in Catalog > set up label and placement properties > Populate annotation feature class by selecting features in an attribute table > Right-click on layer, Selection > "Annotate Selected Features".

While setting up placement properties, I was unable to select any abbreviation dictionary, even though they were available when I labelled features simply through Label Manager in the Labeling toolbar.

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    Welcome to GIS SE! Would you be able to edit your question to include more detailed steps about how you are trying "to recreate labeling using an annotation feature class", please?
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 20, 2014 at 22:02

1 Answer 1


Abbreviation dictionaries are applied to individual labels classes of a layer within a map document. Dictionaries only work with dynamic labels at document level. After labels to which abbreviation directories were applied have been exported to annotations, map-level abbreviation directories as well as any label placement maplex algorithms are no longer in effect in the exported annotation class.

  • Thank you, that explains it. To get around this, instead of creating an annotation feature class "from scratch", I first set up abbreviations just in Label Manager, and then Converted Labels to Annotation. However, the annotation layer created this way differs from the annotation created in Catalog; one difference is that I can no longer edit the placement properties.
    – cavemoss
    Nov 21, 2014 at 19:37

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