I'm working on ArcMap 10. I have a layer of points which I categorized based on a field that we can call "Name". Thus, as you can see in the picture below, the layer is now composed of 24 colors, each of which for points with the same value of "Name". I want to show the labels for this field, but instead of having a label for each point (which as you can assume wouldn't be appropriate given the amount of features) I would have a label for each group of points with the same color (same "Name" value), maybe in the barycenter of the points or linked to the barycenter by an arrow. Is there a way to accomplish this?

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3 Answers 3


You can do this using the Mean Center tool in the Spatial Statistics toolbox, it will compute the average X and Y coordinates for a set of points that you specify and generate an output point. You can specify groups of points in your source data for which individual centers will be computed using the Case Field in the tool, so you would use "Name" as your Case Field to find the center points for each unique Name value.

There's also the Median Center tool, which should generate a similar output but that one works by finding the output location that will result in the shortest distance between each input point and the output point.

You may want to try both tools and see which output looks more like what you're after. Once you've decided, just use those output points as your label points.

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    I like your solution, i didnt know of those tools, question though, since the points are spread out over a large area (look at dark green with two groupings of the points) would the mean center create a point in the center of the groupings rather than the center of the group itself. I suppose you would have to do each grouping seperately?
    – ed.hank
    Jul 30, 2015 at 15:38
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    If you're after a center point for each group, then I'd manually create those groups, add a field ("Name2", say) to identify each group, then run one of those tools using Name2 as the case field. You could also just create labels manually, if you have a good idea of where you want them to go, it would probably be faster and better-looking to just place them there to begin with.
    – Dan C
    Jul 30, 2015 at 15:43
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    This last solution is a good one too, thanks. user3338197 - in this specific case the dark green groups are actually two different value groups (greens are slightly different or same, but different values), still your question is good especially if we look at situations like the three purple groups (darks, medium, light) in the center, where the light one envelope the dark one. I tried both Mean and Median Center tools, and didn't get a satisfactory result for my case. Nice to know about these tools though, I didn't know them either. Jul 30, 2015 at 16:05
  • Finally I used the Mean Center Method and moved with an editing session those points whose position I didn't like. Feasible for a limited number of points though. I had 43 points and moved just 5 of them, so it didn't take long Sep 2, 2015 at 15:37

I am not sure if this is the best way to do it. But you could create polygons around the points, either draw them or use something like bounding container. Then calculate the centroid of the polygon. Then create the labels for the polygon feature and turn the labels on. Symbolize the poly feature with no color and no outline so only the label appears. You can use leaders to point to the centroid of the poly.

Alternatively you could copy the point feature class (so you have two loaded in the TOC) and use a definition query to select only 1 point for each color (maybe a sql command on FID or Object_ID) Then label the single point features in that FC.

Also just a thought but why not can the labels entirely and use the legend to denote what each color represents?

  • I also considered both your first suggestion and your last question. Your second suggestion is a good idea, I will keep into consideration. For what concerns your first suggestion, what's a bounding container? Jul 30, 2015 at 14:57
  • The problem about using a legend is that colors, although different, might be too similar for some groups, especially if I add more groups of points. Jul 30, 2015 at 15:33
  • I think either DanCs solution or my solution two (creating a copy of the FC and definition querying out the points you want labeled) would be the easiest ways to go about this.
    – ed.hank
    Jul 30, 2015 at 15:36

If you use Maplex labeling, you can check the remove duplicates box, under the label density tab, in placement properties. This will label each classification in your feature once and only once.

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