I make city maps with ArcMap 10.2.2 that I export to Illustrator for finalization. To label streets, I use the Maplex Street Placement as below:

enter image description here

As I need to be able to rework labels with Illustrator easily, I use the 'straight' placement to avoid curved labels.

The problem is even using the straight placement, in Illustrator side, I get some separated letters labels:

enter image description here

Most labels arrive in separated straight words, and some of them are texts on path. Both cases are convenient to edit, but separated letters case involves rewriting the whole street name.

Does anyone know how to prevent Maplex/Illustrator export from creating separated letters labels?

  • i've experienced similar issues also. I don't really have an answer just some suggestions but I am sure you've already tried it all. Dynamic labels or annotations? If dynamic, try exporting annotations instead. Have you tried exporting annotations separately with all other layers turned off then placing that separate AI to illustrator? I was gonna suggest export to pdf then open the PDF in illustrator but if i remember correctly that breaks up all the words into individual letters. I am now using 10.3.1 but i sometimes think that the AI exporter hasn't been updated since version 9 Commented May 12, 2016 at 13:51
  • I use dynamic labels. Thanks for your suggestions. I have ever tried both annotations and PDF export, so I got the same. I just tried exporting annotations and turning off everything else, I also got separated letters. Do you get a similar problem in 10.3.1?
    – superrache
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 14:20
  • It's probably overkill, but have you tried converting annotations to polygons using feature outline mask tool?
    – FelixIP
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 23:57
  • Just tried: when I convert anno to polygon, I lose the association between the text and the polygon, and the space between words. I don't think it's useful to repair separated letters but thanks for the idea which deserved to be tested.
    – superrache
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


If you have not been able to achieve the result you are after with this (10.2.2) or subsequent (the latest is 10.4.1) releases then I think you should report this as a possible bug to Esri Support.

If they determine that you are hitting a Software Limitation rather than a Bug then I think you should submit an ArcGIS Idea to have that limitation lifted.

Alternatively, you could look for this functionality in ArcGIS Pro.

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