When setting labels to rotate based on a field, annotation will overlap other features even if the weight is set to 1000.

Does anyone know if there is a way to force it to follow both the rotation value and the feature weight? E

ven if the label engine had to increase the offset or shift the label to the other side of the feature or resize the labels within a set range to sqeeze it in?

Open to any ideas or tools/scripts that can get this done.

Using ArcMap 9.3 & 10 at the ArcInfo license level with Maplex currently.

  • There is a difference between placing labels and annotation.
    – Mapperz
    Nov 9, 2011 at 18:19
  • Got me there, I meant to say label. I convert the labels to annotation, but I'm looking to get the placement better so I don't have to spend as much time whitespacing the annotation.
    – amasephy
    Nov 9, 2011 at 18:25
  • you can convert un-placed labels to annotation - some times is fast to delete than spend time working out each label placement. feature-linked anno helps manage the geometry and label - though if the anno is deleted so is the data.
    – Mapperz
    Nov 9, 2011 at 18:30

1 Answer 1


Maplex Recommendations

In learning to avoid such situations involved using Maplex a bit differently. Here's what is recommend:

  1. Don't bother with feature weights for line or area features. This is the biggest producer of unplaced labels.
  2. Use feature linked annotation for line features. You can always remove the feature-linked relationship after editing if you want to distribute the annotation separately. This way you can take advantage of the follow feature option in the annotation editor.
  3. Set up your label priority rankings and check them before converting labels to annotation; but don't spend too much time working with the rankings while you're refining your Maplex placement settings.
  4. It's far better to add extra label classes to get larger or smaller labels for larger and smaller features than to spend the time resizing annotation features.
  5. Design your text symbols to be flexible. Some maps have larger labels for background features--sometimes you can make these even larger, use a lighter text color, and then use Maplex's background label option. This will allow other more critical labels to be placed and placed better.
  6. Last, check out the Abbreviate Label options. Provided that your label attribute values are correctly spelled and consistently not abbreviated, you will get more correctly placed labels.


  • Those are all great tips. I am mainly concerned with labeling point features along a polyline. Sometimes it will put the label on the polyline, instead of the other side of the point to avoid the line. I'm pretty limited with what I can do to the lablels. I can only slightly resize them, and they all must be displayed. That's why having the Feature Weights seemed the way to go. I also always check the "never remove" box to avoid labels not being placed.
    – amasephy
    Nov 9, 2011 at 18:31
  • So why don't you remove the line (temporary) label the points then convert them to anno - then load the line back in?
    – Mapperz
    Nov 9, 2011 at 18:36
  • The labels or anno will still be overlapping the line when the line is brought in. There isn't a trigger to determine if the label is overlapping another feature.
    – amasephy
    Nov 9, 2011 at 18:49

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