I am labelling polygons in ArcMap (10.5, standart licence, using Maplex). In case the label does not fit in the polygon I want to use marker symbol (triagle, like an arrow) to point! at the polygon the label refers to - to use this instead of the leader line

  • for what I want it to look like see green triangles on the right picture (triangle being next to the label and pointing the direction where the "label's" polygon is!!) (vs clasical arrow leader line - see black line with red arrow on the left picture):

enter image description here

  • I tried to use leader with line decoration (like on the left pict.) to make it arrow leader and chosen the color of the leader line to white and the smallest line width ("no color" led in leader nor triangle showed up!). That actually helped but the tringle stayed (as expected) at the same position - but it needs to be next to the label!

  • I thought of finding a way how to set a leader line length and setting that to a really small number so that it was not (or barely) visible - but did not find the way to make this possible to set;
    see also Way to set a label leader line length (not using annotation) in ArcGIS Desktop?

I want just one marker sign per label.
The solution should be useful also for situations where all the labels cannot be at the same direction from the polygon.
I cannot use annotations for this unless the whole thing stays dynamic.
I do not want the labels to be too far from the polygon border, say max. offset around 25 pts (to be able to place the arrow too).


1 Answer 1


I hope i understand what you want.

Option1: - Open Layer properties and select Label tab - select symbol button - select edit symbol - select Advanced text tab (The below Image)

enter image description here - Under the Text Background button, click properties.You see the editor

window.Select marker Text Background (Show in the below image)

enter image description here

  • Select Symbol button. type "triangle" and search symbols. enter image description here
  • click ok twice. In the editor window, General Tab, you can change the triangle symbol position with X offset and Y offset.

enter image description here

Opthion 2:

Create a new label class :

  • layer properties => label tab => Method: Define classes of features and label... enter image description here

  • Click Add button and create a new label class.

  • Label this class with text background (select a triangle symbol) same as the option1. In the general tab of the Editor window, change color to No color.
  • Set default label class to your labels (text). Now you can change positions and other settings of these two labels: Layer Properties => Label tab =>Label styles In Label Style Selector window => click properties => Placement Properies.
  • I edited my Answer. The result is something like the last image. Is that what you want ?
    – BBG_GIS
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 16:44
  • Ok. @Abc1 I don't know what's your maplex setting. I recommend another solution. I edited my answer.
    – BBG_GIS
    Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 21:54
  • Option2 is not same as the option1. If you want to change the direction and position of the triangle, With Option2 you can it.
    – BBG_GIS
    Commented Nov 5, 2017 at 19:42
  • THIS DOES NOT SOLVE THE THING TO POINT AT THE POLYGON (the label cannot be at the same direction from the polygon every time!) + 1)option1 has a mistake - in general tab using x or y offset moves the whole thing not the marker symbol (at least since 10.3 that has been same) - moving marker symbol can be done from the "symbol selector" window shown on the 3rd pict. in option1 going to edit symbol and x resp. y offset; 2)option2: did not find a way how to make the text + the arrow stay together
    – Abc1
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 18:03

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