ArcMap edit annotation tool button grey out?

I try to edit annotation, but can't because the select annotation button was grey out see image below enter image description here

My annotation was properly convert from label, store in Map. enter image description here

Why I can't edit annotation? I was be able to edit annotation before, but I can't this time, why?

2 Answers 2


It's because your annotation are stored in the map, the tool you try to use will work on an annotation class stored in a database (and of course only during an edit session).

To modify map annotation you need to use the black selection arrow (next right of the select tool on your screenpict). Just click on the annotation you want to modify and it should get selected (you'll see a dotted grey square around it). A right click let you access the annotation properties and the drawing toolbar will let you use some tool to modify it (like the rotation tool).

(In the layout view you need to first double click on the dataframe (the border will change to aching pattern) to be able to select annotation)

  • Great, that is what I thought. I solve my problem, see details in my answer.
    – hoogw
    May 18, 2021 at 17:43

I sovled my question.

You can NOT edit annotation, if the annotation is stored in map !!!

You can only edit annotation, if the annotation is stored in a geodatabase.

Here is step 1: create a new file geodatabase

enter image description here

Step 2: export the shape file to geodatabase

enter image description here

Step 3: select the new file geodatabase you just created as output value type a new name in feature classe field
enter image description here

Step 4: add the new feature class(in file geodatabase) to your map frame enter image description here

Step 5: add label to feature class enter image description here enter image description here

Step 6: Very important

If you get error "The coordinates or measures are out of bounds. Text" later when you convert label to annotation, you might need to adjust the way how you label, I means, you should go back and forth on step 5, micro-adjust the properties on above screen to avoid downstream error.

Step 7: convert label to annotation

       You must first label the feature, check mark  number 1 in pic
       without this check mark, convert label to annotation is grey out.

enter image description here

Step 8: you could failed when convert, error is "The coordinates or measures are out of bounds. Text" the work around is adjust setting exactly like the picture shows you will fix the error!!!

enter image description here

Step 9: when convertion completed successfully, a new annotation layer will be automatically add to your map frame. Now you can start edit the annotation layer just like you edit other shape file. The edit annotion button now is no longer grey out, you can now resize, move the annotation label !!!!!

I click edit annotation button (blue circle in picture), then select a label, you can see that there is a highlighted rectangular box around the label, now you can resize and move it.

enter image description here

Step 10: to change label text, you can open attribute table, change the field value, will get the text changed. see picture enter image description here

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