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I am using data driven pages to produce a series of maps. For each map extent, surrounding areas are labelled. My legend is located in the corner of the data frame (realizing now that that wasn't a good idea).

Is there a way to ensure that the labels in my map won't be covered by the legend box, like assigning a weight to it?

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    this not answer your question but if you're attempting to export a map for serious project, you may not put the legend inside your map data frame, also scale bar and text, north arrow,.. those things is better put it out of map in order to make the data of your map "readable" in its entire bounds. – Jose Hermosilla Rodrigo Jun 13 '16 at 16:53
  • Also if you're wondering how to get a better control of labeling you can see Maplex Label Engine desktop.arcgis.com/es/arcmap/10.3/map/working-with-text/… – Jose Hermosilla Rodrigo Jun 13 '16 at 17:03
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    I agree with @JoseHermosillaRodrigo here. Your maps will most likely look much more professional if your legend, scale, north arrow, source details, etc. are positioned in the margin. These items are often referred to as 'marginal information' because they live in the margin. If you do a Google image search for 'map', you'll see that very few maps have these components covering the data area. – Adam Jun 13 '16 at 22:55
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I think you could do this using ArcPy but it will be far from trivial to do so.

You would need to:

  1. Calculate the size of the legend
  2. Create a feature that represents that legend in map units
  3. Use that feature to erase a copy of the data for which labels need to be avoided
  4. Label the copy instead of the original data

As an alternative you might also be able to create a feature that represents the extent of the map without the legend area and use that to graphically clip the data frame.

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