I've been editing a species name in the legend regularly for the past few months of mapping by using:

<ITA>speciesname</ITA>, and then the rest of the label

For some reason, this method is working for some labels and not working for others. In the legend, some labels literally read <ITA>Arenaria interpres</ITA>, XYZ... and some read: Calidris canutus, XYZ

So the legend is reading the feature labels correctly sometimes and incorrectly other times. Info on formatting tags is here: https://desktop.arcgis.com/en/arcmap/latest/map/working-with-text/formatting-tags-available-in-arcmap.htm

I have tried different fonts (arial, calibri, times new roman), I have also tried solving this in ArcGIS Pro by importing the .mxd to the ArcGIS Pro project with the same result. I have had this problem in separate .mxds as well.

Has anyone had a similar problem?

  • 1
    So had you converted your legend to a graphic to be applying those HTML tags?
    – Hornbydd
    Commented Oct 13, 2022 at 8:56
  • Check your data fields in the table for formatting characters, e.g., single or double quotes or slashes.
    – danak
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 15:28

2 Answers 2


Do you have special characters in any of the labels? If so, there are multiple similar and/or duplicate answers availble here; this one summarizes the (potential) solution best:

Using Label Expression with Text Formatting Tags and Ampersand


In the label, I have the symbol &. The solution was to replace the & symbol with the &amp; entity.

  • Do you mean replace the & character with the &amp; entity? at the moment the answer doesn't make sense
    – nmtoken
    Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 10:20
  • 1
    @nmtoken yes he does. &amp; is actually contained in the answer, but the website converted it to &. Commented Feb 1, 2023 at 10:22
  • works great, thank you!
    – B K
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 4:27

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