I am trying to display some bird data in ArcMap in the format/notation that it is recorded in the field. The notation is made up of the one/two letter species code followed by a description of the activity underneath (see image below).

Bird labeling/field notation
I do not want to create symbology because I have 500+ species and six possible activities, so I have decided to use labelling in ArcMap rather than symbology. I am able to present data with a circle and underlined but I am struggling with displaying the data that has a double underline or asterix underneath. Therefore, I was wondering if anybody would be able to offer me any help - how do I include these characters in a label? I am running ArcMap 9.3.


2 Answers 2


Creating an asterix underneath is fairly simple. In the labels screen, click "expression", then on that page tick the "Advanced" checkbox. In here you can enter:

Function FindLabel ( [Input_FID] )
  FindLabel = [Input_FID] + vbNewLine + "*"
End Function

(where [Input_FID] is whatever the field is called). This gives the below by adding a return character: enter image description here

The double underline is trickier and requires a bit of a "hack". From the "Labels" page click -> Symbol -> Properties -> Advanced Text -> Check "Text Background" -> Properties

Make sure "Type" is "Marker Text Background". Click "Symbol" -> Properties. Find a nice horizontal BAR from Type "Character Marker Symbol" or alternately squish a "Simple Marker Symbol" square into a bar. I have something like this:

enter image description here

Then just press "ok" a lot to get back to the layer properties. Tick "underline" and there you have it, two underlines. (I did say it was hacky :-) ). But you can create just about any sort of labelling/symbology you like using this method. enter image description here

  • 2
    A slight refinement for the double underline. Instead of using an underline on the label font, just add a second layer in the symbol property editor (bottom left '+' button), set it to the same horizontal bar, and change the y offset appropriately. That way the two lines are identical. You could also set the point marker itself to the double bar symbol, rather than the text background. I'm not sure if it makes much difference.
    – KiloGeo
    Jul 17, 2012 at 14:16
  • Oh yes. That works too (and is the better solution because its simpler). Funny how you miss the obvious things sometimes. Jul 17, 2012 at 14:34

Add a line with an underline character below the line with the actual label text. For double underline, add another line. Should work for any number of underlines. Use the <chr> tag with the width attribute to make the underline(s) as long as needed (540 % in the screenshot below). Modify the line spacing to a suitable value (-6,00 in the screenshot below). double underline

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