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I have been trying to label a Virginia counties and cities map with their proper names, but when I try to do so, using all the different types of placements, I either get nice looking labels with not all of them showing, or really messy labels with all of them showing. Is there a solution to this problem?

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    I think this may help you: youtube.com/watch?v=1X2NLHhEUfQ – Gerardo Jimenez Aug 10 '17 at 17:57
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    There's usually a tradeoff: slow and pretty versus quick and messy. To get your labels to look pretty, you'll have to manually rearrange them. Try the Layer to labeled layer plugin and the Label toolbar. – csk Aug 10 '17 at 20:54
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You can use the plugin Layer to labelled layer to arrange your labels

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The way that it works is that it adds many new attribute columns to your shapefile to do with label size, format and placement which you can change and manipulate with the plugin features.

Because it is making changes to your shapefile, I would suggest that it is a good idea to make a copy and work on that.

You can use the label toolbar

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and one installed you will have a new icon

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Clicking on the Layer to labelled layer icon will add the new columns to your shapefile that provides the capability to move the labels as you want them to be, and to manipulate them.

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You will need to show the labels in the normal way

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Use the Move label and diagram button to move the label

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Rotate the label

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And change individual label properties

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It will probably be able to do everything that you need to get your labels as you want them which can then be displayed in Print Composer.

  • I use Easy Custom Labeling (with the save memory layers plugin) for a similar purpose, especially for the leader lines. But is it correct to say the difference is Layer to Labelled Layer reflects changes to source data (esp. addition of new rows), while Easy Custom Labeling doesn't? – she_weeds Aug 11 '17 at 2:20
  • Yes, I have used Easy Custom Labelling before. Where is it? I am using QGIS 2.18.11 and I can not find it in the plugins? I am assuming that it has been assimilated into the core software and is now the Label toolbar? I did however come across SuperLabeling which works quite nicely, by doing a similar thing to Layer to labelled layer by creating attribute columns and adding and removing labels by clicking and double-clicking, respectively. They can then also be moved using the move label feature as above. – Martin Hügi Aug 11 '17 at 6:30
  • Huh. You're right, it's not in the official repository. Looks like the latest release is for 2.99 so it doesn't show up for 2.18.11. It can still be downloaded from here plugins.qgis.org/plugins/EasyCustomLabeling which must be where I got it a while back. As for ECL's advantage with the leader lines, I suppose a geometry generator style could be used with Layer to labelled layer or SuperLabeling, activating only if the label is say beyond a specified radius of the feature. How to get the nice elbowed lines, though, is beyond me at the moment. – she_weeds Aug 11 '17 at 7:57

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