Placing labels outside polygons when they won't fit inside

The Maplex Label Engine will attempt to place each label inside its polygon when you use any of the three interior polygon labeling styles. Sometimes labels will not fit within their polygons. In these cases, you can override the interior placement by checking the May place label outside polygon boundary check box. When this check box is checked, the Maplex Label Engine will first try to place labels that do not fit within their polygons outside the polygons, oriented horizontally and at the label offset distance from the polygon boundary. If this placement is still not possible, it will try positions outward from the default until it either places the label or reaches the maximum offset.

There is also an option to only label the largest polygon in a multipart polygon.

  1. Enable the Maplex Label Engine.
  2. Click the Label Manager button Label Manager on the Labeling toolbar.
  3. Check the check box next to the layer you want to label.
  4. Choose a label class under the layer.
  5. Click the Properties button.
  6. Click the Label Position tab.
  7. Check the May place label outside polygon boundary check box.
  8. Optionally, set a label offset and a preferred external zone for placement.

  9. Click OK to close all dialog boxes.
You can also open the Placement Properties dialog box by clicking the Placement Properties button on the Labels tab of the Layer Properties dialog box for the layer you want to label.

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