I have a script that is run on a daily basis to export a folder of MXDs to PDFs and I have noticed some peculiar behavior. Many, but not all of the PDFs will be missing some labels or their label orientation gets changed. These errors do not occur when I manually export from arcmap. In an attempt to isolate the problem, I wrote a code snippet to simply export a PDF and it behaved normally, no errors.

Is there a reason that stepping through a folder of MXDs would cause this error?

I have included the code below.

    import arcpy
    import os
    arcpy.env.workspace = r"\\fs1\shared\GIS\Map_Documents\NightlyUpdates"
    ws = arcpy.env.workspace
    outPDF = r"\\fs1\shared\GIS\Map_Documents\NightlyUpdates\PDF"
    MXDlist = arcpy.ListFiles("*.mxd")
    for MXD in MXDlist:
        root = os.path.splitext(MXD)[0]    
        title = '\\'+ root + ".pdf"
        tempMXD = arcpy.mapping.MapDocument(os.path.join(ws,MXD))
        arcpy.mapping.ExportToPDF(tempMXD, outPDF+title, image_quality="BETTER")
        del tempMXD

I was having a similar issue. When I switch the Parser on the label expression to JSCript the labels exported correctly.

  • Changing the label expression to VBScript worked for me. – Tom Dec 10 '15 at 22:46
  • Searched forever why my labels were disappearing. Both JScript and VBScript work for me, whereas python did not as soon as I started adjusting colors. This answer saved me a lot of hassle, although I still have no idea why the labels do not appear when using the python parser and arcpy (they are perfectly fine in arcmap itself). – JiyuuSensei May 4 '17 at 6:35

Are the map extents the same when exporting manually from Arcmap as they are exporting using arcpy? Slight differences in extent can have knock-on effects across the map resulting in some labels being placed differently or removed.

It might be a good idea to zoom to a bookmark before exporting, or use layout view so the extent is the same every time.

  • The map extents should not be changed when exporting from arcpy. I believe the error is occurring on the server. For this reason I have started a new question. Thank you for your input. – Andrew Mar 16 '15 at 18:19

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