I have an mxd with 29 data driven pages all at the same scale. I have the need to label hundreds of polygon features, so I converted the labels to annotation (stored in geodatabase and feature-linked) for a feature (stored in same geoDB) and am customizing their placement. What is the method for repeating annotation labels on adjacent data driven pages when the feature runs over the edge of the page to another page in layout view? I feel like I'm missing something obvious!

Also, some features do not have labels at all. I've already placed unplaced annotation, and when setting up the labeling in the original polygon feature class, I chose "repeat labels" and unchecked "remove duplicates". How would I label a feature currently without a label through editing the annotation feature class?

I'm using ArcMap 10.3.1 Desktop with advanced license.

UPDATE: I think I solved part I of this issue by selecting the edit arrow for annotation, clicking on the label I want to duplicate, right click, copy. Click in empty space, paste. Creates a new FID in the annotation feature class that is still feature-linked. Move to desired location.

Still wondering about placing a label on a feature without one by editing the annotation feature class. A janky fix has been to just place a label after hitting "Focus Data Frame", but it's obviously not feature-linked and I'm not satisfied with this workaround.

2 Answers 2


If you do need to make a lot of manual adjustments, go to page 1, convert to annotation, adjust labels manually, go to next page, turn off anno layer, turn on labels, convert to anno, rename anno group for this map page and adjust label manually. I did this for about fifty pages, so there are fifty maps with perfect labels. When exporting, just turn on the anno for that page and off for the other pages.

  • That seems like a good solution. Thanks! Have you ever just copied and pasted an annotation feature while editing? It creates a new feature in the anno feature class that is linked to the original feature class being labeled. It seems to have worked well so far, but I'm wondering if some attributes might be lost in the process. Feb 9, 2016 at 15:16

You might want to try adding a 10% overlap to each data driven page using the 'strip map index feature' tool. Don't convert the labels to annotations because smaller parcels will not show their labels if you're zoomed out too far. Right click on the parcel layer, go to placement property and check the following: Try horizontal first, then straight // Only place label inside of polygon // place one label per feature. Set labeling text size as necessary so all parcels show their labels. With the 10% overlap and label text placement properties set correctly your issue should be resolved.

  • Thanks for the response. Do you mean that I would just be using the labeling engine, maplex or otherwise? I have a need to place leaders for some (but not all) polygons, and ensure that the labels do not occlude the smaller polygons. That's why I converted to annotation, so I could edit/move labels. Feb 4, 2016 at 17:31
  • Is the deliverable going to be viewed in arcmap? If so I feel liking just using standard labeling engine will work best, they can zoom in to the smaller ones when the labels wont show.
    – GIS_GOD
    Feb 5, 2016 at 22:10
  • I'm exporting to pdf for a report. Feb 9, 2016 at 15:12

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