I am operating in ArcGIS Desktop 10.3. I have created three different road shield labels for the three main road types; interstate highway, us highway, state highway. However, the orientation of the symbols is not desirable.

enter image description here

I want the road shields to be straight like this:

enter image description here

The strange this is, although these are two different map projects (MXDs), the shapefile is exactly the same and as far as I can tell all the label placement settings are set the same way.

Any ideas?

  • Is one of the data frames rotated? Are you using the Standard label engine or Maplex? Jun 19, 2017 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


Looks like the labels are parallel to the lines in the first image and horizontal in the second.

Assuming you are using the standard label engine ( Labeling Toolbar). Make sure the labels are oriented Horizonal, not Parallel to the lines. When plotting highway numbers they should be Horizontal, whereas road names are usually parallel to the lines. enter image description here

If you are using Maplex, which is better, you want "Centered Horizontal". There are a lot more options for fine-tuning the label placement.

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