I came across this issue regarding labels overlapping annotations in ArcMap 10.6 (picture left) where they don't overlap in 10.5 (picture right)... What am I missing? I simply opened the mxd in the newer version so the settings are all the same (I would have guessed, but obviously 10.6 ignores some of them):

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I use the Maplex Label Engine and already tried to add another polygon feature class serving as a mask for my annotations, giving it a feature weight of 1000 (both interior and boundary) which should block all labels from being displayed in that area. But that is simply being ignored!

  • Are these labels or an annotation feature class?
    – Berend
    Feb 14, 2019 at 15:11
  • Did you use Maplex in 10.5 as well? Maplex has many options, so it is hard to tell what goes wrong here. Maybe you accidentally checked 'Never remove' on the 'Conflict Resolution' tab?
    – Berend
    Feb 14, 2019 at 15:27
  • If this really is an annotation feature class, then placement rules would have been set when you converted it into annotation. Try converting it to annotation.
    – danak
    Feb 16, 2019 at 0:32
  • The town name "Aidlingen" is an annotation (stored in a file geodatabase) and the overlapping street names are dynamic labels. Maplex was used in 10.5 as well, all the same settings as mentioned. 'Never remove' is unchecked.
    – kiwi75
    Feb 18, 2019 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


True (database) annotation is a feature, so I would not think you need an extra masking layer.

From the Labeling toolbar, choose Label Weight Ranking. Then, assuming 10.6 is not hugely different than the 10.4.1 that I use, look for a drop down near the bottom. It defaults to Features. You can choose to also set Annotation and Graphics layers' weights. If the weight of your Aidlingen layer is set to "High," most or all labels should move or disappear if they are on top of the annotation. If you want them to move, you will have to make the Maplex rules very loose for placement.

I have found that all sorts of actions change label weights, e.g., simply copying layers to a new map or removing a layer and then adding it back in. So converting to a new version may do this too.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer! All of those suggestions were already tested with no success and in the meantime we're in contact with Esri technical support. They could reproduce the issue with their own data so it seems to be a bug in 10.6 caused by the option 'Remove dublicates' in the Maplex 'Label Density'. If you turn that off the labels will behave just fine (but then there will be too many for our project, so no option for us). We're waiting for a solution from Esri.
    – kiwi75
    Mar 1, 2019 at 7:45
  • 1
    I have reported multiple issues related to overlapping labels and Maplex to ESRI over the past few years which affected multiple versions of ArcGIS (10.3-10.6), which got recognized as bugs. These issues started at 10.3, when ESRI introduced some major new options in Maplex (e.g. "key numbering"), which seems to have caused a cascade of subsequent issues (e.g. I had one bug fixed in a release only to discover ESRI broke another thing). It is only at release 10.7, that I am finally getting reliable results again, although I must admit I only use dynamic Maplex labeling, no annotation.
    – Marco_B
    Mar 23, 2020 at 10:24
  • @Kiwi75 There is a setting for annotation weight (just hight, medium, low or null) somewhere in the maplex option (in 10.3 it's at the bottom of the window of the label weight setting (click on the yellow and red icon in the maplex tool bar) there is a drop down to chose between annotation or graphic and label weight) did you try that ?
    – J.R
    Nov 26, 2020 at 23:16

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