Converting labels to annotation features

This topic applies to ArcGIS for Desktop Standard and ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced only.


You can create feature-linked annotation only in ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced and ArcGIS for Desktop Standard.

In ArcMap, you can convert dynamic labels to standard or feature-linked annotation features. If you are unsure whether to convert to standard or feature-linked annotation, see Annotation in the geodatabase.

You can convert labels to standard annotation features from any layer with a geodatabase, coverage, shapefile, or CAD feature class data source. You can create a new standard annotation feature class or add the new annotation to an existing one.

To convert to feature-linked annotation, the layer being labeled must have a geodatabase feature class data source. Unlike when you convert to standard annotation, you always create a new feature-linked annotation feature class in the process—you cannot add the new annotation to an existing feature-linked annotation feature class. The new annotation feature class is created in the same feature dataset as the geodatabase feature class you are labeling or at the root level of the geodatabase if the feature class you are labeling is at the root level of a geodatabase.

If the data you are labeling is stored in an ArcSDE geodatabase, convert your labels to annotation before you version your data when possible. This eliminates the processing time required for reconciling and posting the edited version back to the parent version.

If there are errors when converting labels to annotation, an error message dialog box appears. You can get more information about the errors by opening the log files listed in the dialog box.

  1. Prepare your labels for conversion by ensuring the proper scale and label properties.
  2. To convert labels from one layer, right-click the layer in the ArcMap table of contents. To convert labels from more than one layer, right-click the data frame.
  3. Click Convert Labels to Annotation.
  4. For Store Annotation, click In a database.
  5. Specify the features for which you want to create annotation.
  6. To create feature-linked annotation, check the Feature Linked box. To create standard annotation, leave the box unchecked.

    Convert labels on a geometric network feature class to feature-linked annotation after building the geometric network. This is recommended because when features are snapped in the geometric network building process, their geometry is modified in such a way that linked annotation features are not updated.

  7. If you are creating standard annotation and want to add the annotation to an existing standard annotation feature class, check the Append box.
  8. If you are creating feature-linked annotation, click the name of the new annotation feature class to change it.
  9. If you are creating standard annotation, click the open folder icon and specify the path and name of the new annotation feature class you will create or, if you're appending, the existing standard annotation feature class to which you're appending.

    When converting into an existing annotation feature class, ensure that the current map scale (or data frame reference scale, if set) matches the reference scale of the existing feature class. You will receive a warning if these scales do not match, and you will not be able to proceed until they match.

  10. If you're appending to an existing feature class, skip to step 15.
  11. Click the Properties button.
  12. For information on how to set the Require symbol to be selected from the symbol table, Create annotation when new features are added (disabled for standard annotation), or Update annotation when feature's shape is modified (disabled for standard annotation) options, see Annotation feature class editing properties.
  13. If you are creating the new annotation feature class in a file or ArcSDE geodatabase and you want to use a custom storage keyword, click Use configuration keyword, then type the keyword you want to use.
  14. Click OK.
  15. Some labels may not currently display on the map because there is no room for them. To convert these labels, check the Convert unplaced labels box. This saves the unplaced labels in the annotation feature class, allowing you to position them later in an ArcMap edit session.
  16. Click Convert.
  17. If you checked the Convert unplaced labels box and want to place the unplaced annotation, see Placing unplaced annotation features.

After labels have been converted, new annotation classes are automatically added to the map and appear in the ArcMap table of contents.

If the layer for which you converted labels contained multiple label classes, each label class is now an annotation class in the annotation feature class.

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