Does anyone know if there is a way to change the Default Label in the Label Manager for ArcGIS 10?

Otherwise is there a way to mass label features. I have about 500 feature layers in this MXD and in each of the layer tables is a column named "Label". Because the locations were geocoded, the default uses the text string from the column "Loc_name". I'd like it to use my label column for all of them.

In the label manager, I have the option to label everyone with the default, thats why i originally asked if that default can be changed.

I've tryed to copy the text string from my column into "Loc_name" but the feild length is set at 14 and it is un-editable and 14 is not enough characters.

  • This is pretty much a duplicate of How is the default label field chosen by ArcMap?, just worded a bit differently. The information in the other Q/A still applies. Dec 13, 2011 at 0:02
  • @RyanDalton, It seems that the question is looking for an answer of how to configure the label properties for all 500 layers within the mxd.
    – artwork21
    Dec 13, 2011 at 2:20
  • Thank Ryan, didn't see that 1st post but it is very helpful! Although it doesn't exactly answer my question. Ok, so i have about 500 feature layers in the data frame of the MXD. If i right click the Data Frame and choose Labeling > Label Manager, i can specify which ones i'd like to label in the map and the label class for each one. It automatically selects the "Default", unless i create a new class and specify the parameters (font, size, color, etc..).
    – Tim
    Dec 13, 2011 at 12:49
  • 1
    Because i want to use a custom class (using a halo and different text size) different from the default for everyone of them, i'd have to go into each layer and create a new class with the parameters i want. I am wondering if i can configure the "default" setting, would have to probably be in the code in one of the config files, to do that. Sorry for the confusion but
    – Tim
    Dec 13, 2011 at 12:49
  • You can do this a little easier if you enable Maplex. (You can enable a 30-day free trial if you've never done so) Just open Maplex's label manager, then right click on your updated "Default" setting, click "Copy Parameters" and then you can just paste the parameters into the other feature layers. Not exactly what you're looking for, but should be faster than the regular way.
    – Mintx
    Aug 16, 2012 at 19:30

1 Answer 1


Go to the labeling toolbar (Customize > Toolbars > Labeling), click the 'label manager' and find the layer you want to label, then under 'text string' there is a drop down menu called 'label field' where you can choose which column you want to use as the label.

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