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Create annotation features

In the Create Features pane, feature templates for annotation layers include construction tools that create horizontal, straight and curved annotation features using a baseline. The baseline can be a line or a Bézier curve. The baseline becomes nonvisible when you finish the feature.

Before you create the feature, you can format the text and override symbol attributes. You can also use Find Text Find Text on the context menu and replace the text string in the pane with a label expression or field value from a layer in the map.

For steps to change the curvature of an existing annotation feature, see Change annotation curvature.

Horizontal Annotation

To create horizontal straight annotation, click Horizontal Annotation Horizontal Annotation. Type the text string in the pane and click the map.

  1. In the Catalog pane, do one of the following to add the layer to your map:
    • Expand Databases Databases, expand the database containing your data, and drag the feature class onto the map.
    • To create a new data source, right-click the default database, click New, click Annotation Feature Class Annotation feature class, type the feature class name, select the coordinate system, and click Create Feature Class.

    The layer is added to the current map, and a feature template with default settings is automatically created.

  2. On the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Create Create Features.

    The Create Features pane appears.

  3. Click an annotation feature template.

    The tool palette and a text box appear in the pane.

  4. Next to the tool palette, click the forward arrow Forward.

    The tool palette and the feature attribute table for the active template appear in the pane.

    Create Annotation

  5. Click the text box and type the text string.
  6. To replace the text string with a label expression or field value from a layer in the map, right-click, click Find Text Find Text and select a feature.
    • Press the N to cycle through the possible text strings.

    The topmost visible feature in the selection is calculated. If a text string can’t be calculated, the string is set to the word Text.

  7. On the Edit tab, in the Snapping group, enable your snapping preferences, and move the pointer back to the map.
  8. Click Horizontal Annotation Horizontal Annotation.

    The text appears on the pointer.

  9. Format the text using the formatting drop-down menus.

    The format changes appear on the pointer.

  10. Click the map to create the text, or right-click and use Absolute X,Y,Z Absolute XYZ.

Straight Annotation

To create straight annotation at an angle, click Straight Annotation Straight Annotation. Type the text string in the pane and click the map to create the start point. Drag the pointer or use the context menu to specify the angle and click the map again.

  1. In the Catalog pane, do one of the following to add the layer to your map:
    • Expand Databases Databases, expand the database containing your data, and drag the feature class onto the map.
    • To create a new data source, right-click the default database, click New, click Annotation Feature Class Annotation feature class, type the feature class name, select the coordinate system, and click Create Feature Class.

    The layer is added to the current map, and a feature template with default settings is automatically created.

  2. On the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Create Create Features.

    The Create Features pane appears.

  3. Click an annotation feature template.

    The tool palette and a text box appear in the pane.

  4. Next to the tool palette, click the forward arrow Forward.

    The tool palette and the feature attribute table for the active template appear in the pane.

  5. Click the text box and type the text string.
  6. To replace the text string with a label expression or field value from a layer in the map, right-click, click Find Text Find Text and select a feature.
    • Press the N to cycle through the possible text strings.

    The topmost visible feature in the selection is calculated. If a text string can’t be calculated, the string is set to the word Text.

  7. On the Edit tab, in the Snapping group, enable your snapping preferences, and move the pointer back to the map.
  8. Click Straight Straight Annotation.
  9. Click the map to create the start point, or right-click and use Absolute X,Y,Z Absolute XYZ.

    The text appears on the map and follows the angle of the pointer.

  10. Format the text using the formatting drop-down menus.

    The format changes appear on the pointer.

  11. Drag the pointer or use the context menu to specify the angle and click the map.
  12. On the editing toolbar, click Finish Finish or press the F2 key.

    Editing toolbar

Curved Annotation

To create annotation that follows a Bézier curve, click Curved Annotation Curved Annotation. Type the text string in the pane and click the map to create the start point. Drag the pointer or use the context menu to specify the angle, click the map, and drag the pointer again to shape the curve.

  1. In the Catalog pane, do one of the following to add the layer to your map:
    • Expand Databases Databases, expand the database containing your data, and drag the feature class onto the map.
    • To create a new data source, right-click the default database, click New, click Annotation Feature Class Annotation feature class, type the feature class name, select the coordinate system, and click Create Feature Class.

    The layer is added to the current map, and a feature template with default settings is automatically created.

  2. On the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Create Create Features.

    The Create Features pane appears.

  3. Click an annotation feature template.

    The tool palette and a text box appear in the pane.

  4. Next to the tool palette, click the forward arrow Forward.

    The tool palette and the feature attribute table for the active template appear in the pane.

  5. Click the text box and type the text string.
  6. To replace the text string with a label expression or field value from a layer in the map, right-click, click Find Text Find Text and select a feature.
    • Press the N to cycle through the possible text strings.

    The topmost visible feature in the selection is calculated. If a text string can’t be calculated, the string is set to the word Text.

  7. On the Edit tab, in the Snapping group, enable your snapping preferences, and move the pointer back to the map.
  8. Click Curved Annotation Curved Annotation.
  9. Click the map to create the start point, or right-click and use Absolute X,Y,Z Absolute XYZ.

    The text appears on the map and follows the angle of the pointer.

  10. Format the text using the formatting drop-down menus.

    The format changes appear on the pointer.

  11. Drag the pointer and click the map to set the angle.

    The text conforms to the contour of the curve as you drag the pointer.

  12. Drag the pointer to shape the curve and click the map.
  13. On the editing toolbar, click Finish Finish or press the F2 key.

    Editing toolbar

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcutFunctionDescription

Ctrl+W

Find Text Find Text

Replaces the text string in the text box with the label expression or field value from the topmost selected feature layer. Selecting feature-linked annotation calculates the text only from the origin feature class. If a text string can’t be calculated, the string is set to the word Text.

N

Next

Steps through the selection when more than one annotation feature is selected using Find Text Find Text.

F6

Absolute X,Y,Z Absolute XYZ

Opens the dialog box to specify absolute x, y, z coordinates.

Keyboard shortcuts for annotation construction tools
Note:

Annotation feature classes contain the text string that appears on the map, descriptive attributes, and display properties. When you create new annotation features, consider the following:

  • Annotation features are textual elements placed on a map to name or describe geographic features. Generally, they are placed alongside labels in a planned visual hierarchy to communicate the importance of a particular feature. You can style them for a particular cartographic aesthetic. Examples include text that emphasizes the name of a country versus the name of a city or the name of a river.
  • You can link an annotation feature class to a geographic feature class and automate specific update behaviors. For example, text strings for feature-linked annotation are linked to the value of a field or fields from the geographic feature to which it is linked. You can also configure linked annotation to automatically add, delete, or move with the linked feature.