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Allow labels to overrun a feature

If a label does not fit within a polygon or is longer than a line, the label is not placed. You can use the label overrun parameters to allow the Maplex Label Engine to use free space beyond the feature to place labels.

Polygon feature overrun

For most polygon label placement styles, the Maplex Label Engine attempts to place the label inside a polygon. If the label is larger than the polygon, the label is not placed on the map. Specifying a Maximum overrun limit allows the Maplex Label Engine to utilize free space outside the boundary of the polygon to place the label.

Asymmetric overrun—You can set the overrun placement to look for neighboring polygons with lower feature weights to place labels over by checking the Allow asymmetric overrun check box. This is useful when labeling small countries on a coastline. The water polygon has a lower weight; therefore, the country label runs over the water polygon instead of the neighboring countries.

The images below show the London Eye Ferris wheel labeled with the Overrun parameter set. In the image to the left, a Maximum overrun distance is specified and the label is placed near the center of the polygon and evenly over the polygon boundary. The image to the right shows the Allow asymmetric overrun option being used. The buildings, land use, and street features have had feature weights set, so the label is placed over the water, which has no weight.

Polygon labels set with the Overrun parameter

Line feature overrun

When the Maplex Label Engine places labels for lines, it always attempts to place the label between the start and end points of the line. If the label is longer than the line feature, the label may not be placed on the map. Specifying a Maximum overrun distance allows the label to extend beyond the ends of the line.

In the image below, you can see that the Whispering Pines Lane label does not fit within its feature. Because a Maximum overrun distance is set, the Maplex Label Engine allows the label to extend beyond the length of the feature.

Line labels set with the Overrun parameter

  1. Ensure the Maplex Label Engine is enabled.
  2. Ensure Labeling is the active way of displaying the Contents pane.
  3. Select a label class in the Contents pane and click the Labeling tab.
  4. On the Labeling tab, in the Label Placement group, click Label Placement Properties Launcher.
  5. On the Labeling pane, click Position and click Fitting strategy.
  6. Expand Overrun.
  7. Specify the Maximum distance and the units to measure in (map units or page units—millimeters, inches, or points).
  8. Optionally, if labeling polygon features, check the Allow asymmetric overrun check box.