Can the following be done in ArcMap? It should be formula based without manual formatting as performed by my predecessor (in MapInfo using a lot of manual steps) to get the following output.

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  1. Grave_No on right parallel to the y axis of the grave.
  2. Name on top center parallel to the x axis of the grave.
  3. Date of Death on bottom center parallel to the x axis of the grave.

I expect that we will need to copy the layer three times to apply custom labels for each of these situations enter image description here

In MI -I can't autorotate the labels and place them on the left/make sure the angle is the same as the grave. I know it can be done manually per label but this is far to much work.

In QGIS - See Custom labeling with same angle as rectangular object and specific position using QGIS?

In ArcMap - In maplex, it seems as if we can only rotate point labels but I have a polygon shape. We can't use centroids as it will go out of the grave site. enter image description here

So QGIS seems to get the closest...and while I am happy to have a QGIS solution I have asked a new question (as there were no responses) to just have an ArcMap solution.

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Note 1. The name sometimes does not show but the Date of Death does, in other cases this is reversed. Both should be shown. 2. Some will have 2 or more people in the grave so the data will be there twice - so grave no will be E-062a and E-062b for example with 2 names and dates of death as well.

So can I do all the above in ArcMap? the example shows how far I could get it.

  • In ArcGIS you can specify Always Straight in Placement. Thus the best way forward I think is split of polygon into 3 items using script.
    – FelixIP
    May 31, 2016 at 2:30
  • Have a look at gis.stackexchange.com/questions/159631/… with very little tweak you'll be able to split your originals into 2 horizontal first and say 5(?) verticals in a second go
    – FelixIP
    May 31, 2016 at 2:57

1 Answer 1


You can have a look at annotations (not grapic elements). When you export your labels to a file-geodatabase the label options becoming columns in the attribut-table of the annotation. There you can calculate the angle field to have your rotations/colors/offsets based on some formula.

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When you create your labels in the first place as label-classes for your different offsets/colors/rotations you don´t have to create several layers. The classes will be afterwards in the attribute table and can be used for a conditional calculation of the roatations. Something like "If attribut=5 and labelclass=2 return rotation = 90". The calculated values will automaticly be applied to the annotations.

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