I am working in a project which I should label two types of grids (one is projected and the other is geographic) in the same data frame (layout view).

Often there is an overlap of these coordinate labels. I usually have to convert one of them to graphic (Data Frame Properties > Grids > Select Graticule grid > Convert to Graphics) to manually adjust them.

When I am working in the next geological sheet (I am using the same layout template for the different sheets) I need to manually delete the grids features converted to graphics to start again.

I would like to know if this stored graphical grid is located somewhere. For example, when I convert some label to annotation from a shapefile I should find it in the Annotation Groups (Data Frame Properties) and erase it. Is there a similiar option when you convert a grid to graphics? There is only the Default Group Name in the Annotation Groups.

PS: My ArcMap version is 10.3.

1 Answer 1


I just ran a test; the grid as graphics is just stored as a single grouped graphic, so it is not in an annotation feature.

Here is an excerpt of my notes on how to get graphics into a database annotation feature. My target is an enterprise (SDE) feature, so that is why I use a temporary, intermediate feature. You could simplify this. Sometimes Append Annotation fails, so you may have to use Append. You already have your grid graphics drawn, but you need to select the graphic, right click, and Ungroup to get more control over the individual elements.

b. In a scratch file geodatabase, add a new feature class of type annotation, set the reference scale, not feature linked. This will hold the annotation from the next steps temporarily. c. In Data View, or Layout View with data frame focused, select the new text and the graphics. Even if there is no text needed, you need to select at least one text element for the next step to work. d. Right click on the data frame, choose Convert Features to Graphics. Choose the option to include both text and graphics shapes. Enter the scratch geodatabase name and Step b annotation feature class. e. Use the Append Annotation geoprocessing tools to add the scratch data to the final annotation feature.

  • Thank you for answer, danak. However, I am just an average user of ArcGIS and I do not how to use geodatabases, just shapefiles. I managed to create a file geodatabase and an annotation feature class but I cannot go any further. Is there a way to do this without using geodatabases?
    – Zoranis
    Dec 12, 2018 at 13:53
  • Not if you want to be able to edit the text and graphics repeatedly. But the graphic will be editable. BTW, all you have to do to set up a geodatabase is go to ArcCatalog and give it a name. Setting up new features within a geodatabase is now harder than setting up new shapefiles in a folder. In either case you just have to name the file and supply some coordinate info.
    – danak
    Dec 13, 2018 at 21:03
  • I created a file geodatabase and added a feature class type of annotation (scale 1:250000 and not feature linked) and created a grid in the data frame properties and transformed it using the Convert to Graphics. I did the step c in Layout View (you cannot see the grid in Data View). I ungroup this grid to select all the elements (label coordinates). In the Convert Features to Graphics (step d) which option I should use? I was asked to select a layer to convert but there is no layer for the grid. Another question: which ArcToolBox I should use for Append. I searched and there is more than one.
    – Zoranis
    Dec 14, 2018 at 17:15
  • Append data (vs. coverage, which is just an ancient format). I will have to try this later to check your other questions.
    – danak
    Dec 20, 2018 at 16:52

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