I've been trying to convert a map from .mxd to .kml for google earth. The map has municipalities labeled as well as train stations. When I save it and open it in Google Earth, only the train station labels appear.

I have tried moving the municipal layer up in the table of contents before saving. I have also tried taking out the rail stations labels and only having the municipal labels. Neither has done the trick.

  • your need to convert your polygons to points [centroid] in order to export labels for Google Earth - Google Earth does not label polygons only points.
    – Mapperz
    Jun 12, 2012 at 18:59

3 Answers 3


Google Earth requires labelled polygons in ArcGIS to be labelled points.

enter image description here

*use the 'INSIDE' to force points inside the original polygon.

Use Feature to Point (Data Management) Toolbox http://help.arcgis.com/en/arcgisdesktop/10.0/help/index.html#//00170000003m000000

add the point layer into your .mxd label it.

Export to KML/KMZ

  • Thanks :) You just saved me many frustrating minutes/hours. Map looks great (and labeled) now. Jun 12, 2012 at 19:36
  • Great answer! If you have multipart data as shown in the graphics above, you may want to consider using the Multipart To Singlepart tool so that each feature is labeled independently. Jun 12, 2012 at 22:41

Personally, no matter what I do I have all sorts of rendering issues when converting annotations to KMZ. (it could be because I am trying to precisely place 100s of labels in a KMZ) To overcome these problems I convert annotations to polygons which is not an elegant solution but it does work flawlessly every time.
enter image description here


The underlying point to understand is that kml is a very different model than that of an ArcGIS (.mxd) map, and in general is more restrictive. As already noted by @mapperz, you can't label a polygon. But there are many other things you also can't do in kml which you'll discover along the way. If you're going to be generating a lot of kml from mxd files (or other sources), it would pay to look over the kml reference to understand the range of what can and can't be done.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.