This is very puzzling, I have an annotation feature class stored in a geodatabase that contains labels with leader lines.

The leader lines show up perfectly in the .mxd, it is only when I export to PDF that there is intermittent rendering of the leader lines. The puzzling part is that it works for some leader lines and not for others. The actually text of the annotation shows up in every single instance. A portion of the leader line stemming from the text shows up in every instance as well, it is only whether or not the leader line is completed that seems to be the symptom.

Please let me know if you need anymore info to help diagnose the problem.

Here is an example of the leader line on the left not being completed and the leader line on the right rendering correctly:

enter image description here

  • Are you getting the same result when exporting to image (e.g. .jpg, .tif...etc)? – artwork21 Oct 25 '13 at 19:21
  • Have you tried bumping up the dpi of the PDF export, or using a PDF printer to do the export, to see if you get different results? PDF export in ArcGIS isn't perfect, and can sometimes have minor errors. – DPierce Oct 25 '13 at 19:31
  • The Problem still persists in 10.3.1. Contrary to Peter's answers I couldn't fix this by recreating the MXD. This issue has cost us hours and hours already, I wish I could bill these to ESRI... – user59609 Sep 22 '15 at 13:04

I never figured out why I had this rendering problem in 10.1, but upon upgrading to 10.2 my .mxd rendered out the leader lines correctly.


I just had the same issue today in ArcMap 10.3. I tried exporting to jpeg and adjusting many different quality settings but to no avail. Finally, after exhausting all other options I recreated the map document from scratch (I save the most of the layers as .lyr files) and it fixed the problem. It is a problem that is map document specific I guess.

The following was exported from the old map document: The following was exported from the old map document

The following was exported from the new map document: The following was exported from the new map document

  • That's unfortunate to hear! I was hoping that the software upgrade was the solution but it sounds like this is a bug that still exists. – kkaszas Mar 12 '15 at 22:27

I'm using 10.2 and started running into this issue today. I tried exporting as either jpeg and pdf using various dpi with no luck. My solution: Move the annotation layer containing the leader lines up to the top of the table of contents. This solved my problem and allows the leader lines to render correctly when exporting.


I've found one workaround when the problem layer(s) is within a group layer. For a while, it worked to simply move the layer out of the group layer, but then that stopped working (leader lines went back to being blurry). The updated workaround appears to be moving the layer to the top of the stack in the Table-Of-Contents.

I originally found the answer here: https://community.esri.com/message/806212-re-leader-lines-disappear-at-plot-or-export-of-map?commentID=806212#comment-806212

Even if the layer is not within a group layer, might be worth a try moving it to the top of the TOC stack.

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