I'm trying to stack labels using an expression I wrote using VBScript.

I can get them to stack using "vbnewline" but it is a no go when using Maplex's label stacking options.

Using ArcGIS for Desktop Standard 10.3.1. The layer in question is a shapefile and not a geodatabase feature class. The label being used is a banner to call out the feature. I tried to "force split" using spaces in the label expression.

Anybody else have this issue?

  • 2
    what version? and any more details might be useful.
    – mkennedy
    Jan 20, 2016 at 19:58
  • Arc Desktop standard 10.3.1. Layer in question is a shape file and not a feature class. The label being used is a banner to call out the feature. I tried to " force split" using spaces in the label expression
    – GISMapper
    Jan 20, 2016 at 20:05
  • Please use the edit button beneath your question to revise it with requested clarifications like these. A more precise description of what you have tried will help us to help you.
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 20, 2016 at 20:08

1 Answer 1


I use the vbnewline command in the expression field, I have had minor trouble in the past with the overall display of some labels, but the majority would display correctly. I do believe it is one of two things, you either need to double check that the VB code you entered is entered correctly or your settings in your placement properties are interfering with your vb code in your expression.

Here's what I have for my expression:

[NAME] & VBNEWLINE & [PID] & VBTAB & "(" & [ACREAGE] & ")"  & VBNEWLINE & [file_as_na]

enter image description here

You also want to make sure this checkbox is unchecked! see below:

enter image description here

Then in your placement properties you need to make sure the options for stacked labels are on.

enter image description here

Lastly it produces a labeling system like this:

enter image description here

With the maplex options under placement properties you can assign the 'force split' to create new lines in a label. This typically works well if you have attribute fields that are very long and need to be broken up, or if you have merged fields like addresses that can be be broken down at comma points. Most of my data is contained in fields with shorter text entries, therefore I like using the VBScript option so that I can tell it to separate by parenthesis and add four or five different fields. There may be equivocal options in the Maplex tables. The Maplex options may be quicker to assign and set up, but offer less overall control or customization than the VBScript expressions, a mix of both might be best in the long run.

Hope this is what you were looking for, and I hope it helps,

  • Thank Joshua for your response. Very helpful. I was under the impression that VBNEWLINE did not to be in the script when using maplex labeling engine. If I selected "stack labels" then use the options for that setting, split by space "forced split" that would do the trick
    – GISMapper
    Jan 20, 2016 at 22:37
  • I added my take on the Maplex tools you mentioned.
    – Joshua A
    Jan 21, 2016 at 14:32

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