Is it possible to link multiple leaders lines to one piece of annotation?

I'm working in ArcGIS 10.2 Desktop Advanced with non-feature linked geodatabase annotation. I have hundreds of numbers labeling various polygons, but some polygons share a number. Instead of creating multiple numbers/annotations for each polygon I'd like to have one number with multiple lines pointing to each polygon.

So, in the image below, the number 5 corresponds to multiple polygons. Here I've moved 5 from it's ideal location to show that the second leader line is not connected to the number annotation. My workaround has been to create another piece of geodatabase annotation with a blank text string to serve as a placeholder for a leader line. The other option was to use map/graphic annotation to create the second leader line, but with the multiple disadvantages of not being in the same annotation feature class as the number annotation.

A blank piece of annotation holding the leader line

My goal would be for each piece of number annotation to be connected to multiple leader lines like appears below.

Numbers correspond to multiple polygons

  • 1
    Could you please add a specific question? Thanks.
    – Aaron
    Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


A very similar question was asked over at Ask A Cartographer and the answer was:

There's not even a hard way to do this yet. If you've got a lot of these, I would suggest making a line feature class and just add line features for the leaders. You'll have a lot more control over where the leaders meet the text as well.

There is also an ArcGIS Idea for Multi-leader-line balloon/callout boxes to which you could add your vote.

  • To workaround in ArcMap, one could manually draw linear element and change the symbol of the line element accordingly. Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 18:22

I do this all the time, using a rather crude workaround, but it works. I create multiple annotations on top of each other and point each to where I want leaders. I then tweak size and drawing order to make things look right. In the case of balloon callouts, I will create tiny polygons with no border that match the annotation background color to cover up unwanted annotation borders that cross over leaders.

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