I have a map series set up to use data driven pages. My problem is that I have a text box that uses dynamic text that overlaps with the boundary of the data driven feature (in this case, a town line). Is there a way (an option or setting) that I can use to make it not overlap with the data driven feature?

This is similar to this question: Move TEXT_ELEMENT using arcpy.mapping and data driven pages

but I don't want to set up a script for this one change to the map.

  • Reduce scale or do script
    – FelixIP
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 4:48
  • Possible but I haven't tried: can you set your textboxes up as labels? This would enable feature weights to control where they place.
    – danak
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 16:07

1 Answer 1


I've run into this before when generating a series of Exhibit Maps based on parcel shapes. While I am not aware of any methods available to avoid Graphic Layout Elements from overlapping with specific features, I have used a workaround to the same effect.

Typically, I follow these steps:

  1. Make a duplicate of the feature class (or optionally, the selection set from it).
  2. Set Data Driven Pages to use this new feature class instead of your old one.
  3. Set the symbology for the new feature class to completely transparent. (or you can wait til you're ready to export the map series to do this).
  4. I would advise you add a Scale column to the new feature class. You can set Data Driven Pages to use the scale listed for the given record, which will help better position your data-driven feature on the page.
  5. Manually adjust the transparent shapes as needed to nudge the center of the actual shape away from your dynamic text box. This will involve reshaping the feature so that its extent goes opposite of the direction you want to nudge it. If you want the shape to move to the left, reshape the transparent feature so that it gets bigger to the right.
  • I understand this isn't an ideal solution, especially if you've got hundreds or thousands of records to generate pages from, but it does work fairly well for smaller datasets with dozens of records or less. Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 15:26
  • this is exactly the kind of work around i need. thanks! I'll accept the answer once i have a chance to try it out
    – JMVDA
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 13:13
  • @JMVDA Glad to hear this is what you needed. Since this answer is what you were looking for, please be sure to Accept the Answer as Solved. Thanks! Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 16:36
  • despite appearing to work while reading through it, this solution did not work for me. I suspect it is because I have everything clipped in layout to the extent of the data driven page. All the was accomplished when trying this was that I could see a smaller portion of my town. If I understood correctly, the idea behind this solution is to move the center point of the polygon and thereby shift the data driven page in a specific direction to avoid a graphic element. Did I miss something?
    – JMVDA
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 20:31

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