There are several Maplex Label Engine label position options for polygons. By default, polygon labels are placed horizontally within polygons. You can also place labels along the medial axis or following the general curvature of the polygon. Any of these interior label placements can be repeated throughout the feature. If polygons are too small to contain the labels, you can place the labels horizontally or curved outside the polygons. Whether the polygon is labeled within the polygon or outside the polygon, you can control the zones that will be used for placing the labels.
When your label is placed outside the polygon, you can control the anchor point location used by the callout symbol. You can also label the boundaries of polygons, for example, to help the map reader differentiate between two sides of a political border. If your map has a projected coordinate system, you can align the labels to the projection graticule. Some polygons contain other polygon features; for example, parcel polygons may contain buildings, or lakes may contain islands. You can set polygon labels to avoid polygons that are contained within the polygon. Other polygons are shaped in a long, skinny fashion, for example, river polygons. You can use the River placement style to enable these polygon labels to follow the curves of the polygons. You can also stretch labels by increasing the word spacing or letter spacing to extend them across polygons.