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I am using ArcMap 10.5.1, and I am having trouble getting my labels to draw somewhere besides the center of the map in layout view. I am using Maplex. The problem is that I have a polygon from a different layer right in the center of the map, which is where I want it, and ArcMap insists on placing township/range labels right on top of it. The only way to keep the labels off of the polygon is the shift the view so that the polygon is no longer in the center. I would rather shift the labels than shift the view.

In this map, "Current Inventory" is the layer I need unobscured by the labels for the township/range layer. I can't seem to tweak the position properties to shift the labels away from the center.

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If it is not already a separate layer, separate Current Inventory from Previous Inventory using definition queries to create 2 layers. Use the Labeling toolbar, Label weights button to give the Current Inventory layer weights of a big number like 1000. That should push the other label away, however, it may have trouble placing it. It is hard to duplicate these type of problems because the relationships between shapes, amount of overlap, and length of labels differ. That said, I tested this method in 10.4 with some of my data.

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