I am trying to place my labels below my polygons using ArcGIS 10.0 (and centered). I have tried using

Properties... Labels

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Choosing Symbol... from the interface above

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On the General tab, I want to modify Vertical alignment but options are grayed out and I can't modify anything! Even though it says "bottom", it shows up as centered.

UPDATE: as suggested by the comment, I tried to play around with the placement properties and modified Label weightand Feature weight but it just makes for really odd placement that changes depending on zoom and each feature.

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Facts about my settings:

  1. shapefile is a polygon
  2. I have tried with and without a halo
  3. I am using Arial font (and have tried others)
  4. ... run out of ideas!!!
  • The setting that you referenced is about the alignment of the text after the label is placed by the labelling engine. It is useful when you need to create sub- or super-script effect. If you want to place the actual label below the feature/shape, have a look at the placement properties and feature weight option. – fatih_dur Nov 3 '17 at 2:27
  • First off, I had a similar issue and remember changing label style from Style Manager did help (i.e., vertical alignment was active and needed to reapply the style afterwards). Second, the labelling process roughly has two steps as to my knowledge; 1. Finding the location/point where the label will take place and 2. how the labels will be shown. The grayed-out option that you are asking help for is related to the second step not the first. – fatih_dur Nov 3 '17 at 14:57
  • I am dealing with ArcGIS for 10 years and I still cannot figure out completely how the labelling engine works. To me there is no such thing as total control but you learn tricks. The labels will change their position based on your viewpoint, hence your new confusion. If the number of the polygons is not large, you can convert your labels to annotations and edit manually. If not and you strictly want them just below, you can convert polygon features to points and move them to the lower-most edge (may require scripting) and label these points as to your liking. – fatih_dur Nov 3 '17 at 15:04

The Vertical Alignment text symbol property for labels is always 'Bottom'. If this setting is changed, it will be reset when the dialog box is reopened. To modify the placement of the text string with respect to the baseline geometry, enter a Y-Offset.

Also for advanced labeling options use Maplex instead of labeling. The Maplex Label Engine provides a special set of tools that allows you to improve the quality of the labels on your map. With the Maplex Label Engine, you can define parameters to control the positioning and size of your labels; the Maplex Label Engine then uses these parameters to calculate the best placement for all the labels on your map. You can also assign different levels of importance to features to ensure that more important features are labeled before less important ones.

In ArcGIS 10.0 and 10.1 with licencse type ArcInfo, make sure the Maplexextension is activated. To do so, go to:

Customize -> Extension and then click on Maplex as show in the screen clipping below:

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Once Maplex is activated, it changes the options available under Label Manager in the Label toolbar.

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  • Very interesting suggestion, but I'm still having issues. 1. If the "Y-offset" with respect the centroid of the polygon or the perimeter of the polygon? 2. The option Use Maplex Labeling Engine is not available (i.e. I can see it but not click on it) in my Labeling toolbar. 3. When I click on Label Manager, I only have the option to move my label for point shapefiles and not for me polygon shapefiles (see screenshots that I added in my question) – user3386170 Nov 3 '17 at 18:21
  • 1- Labeling is not based on the centroid.It's depends on your polygon shape ,polygon positions and label setting. 2- Maplex is in a core of ArcGIS. If you have some dataframes, Check them. or create a new mxd and try the maplex. 3- same as 2 ;) – BBG_GIS Nov 3 '17 at 18:42
  • Data Frame Properties => General => Label Engine. – BBG_GIS Nov 3 '17 at 19:21
  • Okey. In ArcGIS 10.0 and 10.1 you should use Arcinfo licence level. What's your licence level? Do you see maplex extension in Extensions ? – BBG_GIS Nov 3 '17 at 19:36
  • Thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions. I'm deleted some of my comments to clean up the Q&A for other users and I've added screenshots to include your additional explanations. – user3386170 Nov 3 '17 at 20:06

Placing the label bellow polygon: As long as do not have 10.0 and have not found the documentation, I cannot say for sure that will work, but it should...

With Maplex being ON, you can click on "position"

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and choose offset horizontal (the picture below) - that makes the label stay outside of polygon,

and also can choose "offset" (distance from the polygon's border) - marked on the 1st picture enter image description here

clicking on the properties (see the 1st picture), at "placement" or "position" or sth like that tab, you may see external zones... there you can choose which position the label would be at!!

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