Maplex Label Engine placement properties for advanced labeling

When you use the Maplex Label Engine, you have access to a new set of label placement properties that let you control the following:

Label position

The first tab of the Placement Properties dialog box, Label Position, helps you answer the question, Where does the label go? This tab controls how a label is positioned with respect to a feature. Point, line, and polygon feature classes have different label position options. You can specify curved or straight label placement, align labels with features or with the projection graticules, and set the word and character spacing within labels. These options combine to offer a wide variety of label placements.

In addition to the standard feature types, the Maplex Label Engine provides label placement options for features such as streets, contours, rivers, boundaries, and land parcels.

Label fitting strategies

The second tab, Fitting Strategy, helps you answer the question, What can I do to a label to make it fit on the map? This tab allows you to control if and how the Maplex Label Engine will alter a label's placement or format when placing labels in crowded areas of the map. These parameters allow you to maintain the overall clarity of the map while increasing the number of labels that are placed on it. The label-fitting strategy parameters control label stacking, feature overrun, font size reduction, label abbreviation, and key numbering. In addition, the Maplex Label Engine allows you to specify a preference for the order in which these strategies will be applied to the placement of the label.

Label density strategies

The third tab, Label Density, helps you answer the question, How densely do I want my labels to be placed? You can decrease the number of labels placed per label class by spacing out the labels that are placed. Do this by setting a buffer size to control the space around labels or by removing duplicate labels. You can also control label density by labeling features based on their size or their connection to other features.

For small-scale maps where you may have larger features that display over the extent, you can increase the number of labels placed for features. This is useful when dealing with large meandering polygons, such as in geologic maps, or long highways that span the extent of a map.

Label conflict resolution strategies

The fourth tab, Conflict Resolution, helps you answer the question, What wins a space when multiple labels are competing for it? This tab contains parameters that order the importance of label classes and their associated features. The Maplex Label Engine has a number of label conflict resolution strategies to solve label problems in congested areas. Feature weights let you indicate which feature classes may be covered by labels. Background labels may be overlapped by other labels.

  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. The Placement Properties dialog box appears, and you have access to the Maplex Label Engine advanced label placement controls.

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 that you want to label.