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Orient line labels to graticules or direction

Using the Maplex Label Engine to set line label orientation allows you to place labels so they align with the lines of latitude of a map's projection. It also allows you to place labels so they follow the digitized direction of features. This is useful for placing one-way arrow symbols for streets.

Orient line labels to graticules

You can control how line labels are oriented on the map. If you choose a horizontal placement position and your map is in projected space, you can choose to align the labels with the latitude graticules. There are four graticule alignment types to choose from:

  • Straight
  • Straight (no flip)
  • Curved
  • Curved (no flip)

The Straight and Curved options place the label in alignment with the graticule and orient it to the page. The Straight (no flip) and Curved (no flip) options allow the label to be drawn upside down to align with the graticule.

Tip:

If the data is not in projected coordinates, the labels will not align. They will remain in their original position.

Learn more about map projections

The following image shows the line label oriented to the graticules.

Line labels oriented to the graticules

  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 Position.
  6. Expand Orientation.
  7. Choose the graticule alignment type: Straight, Straight (no flip), Curved, or Curved (no flip).

    If the data is not in projected coordinates, the labels will not align. They will remain in their original position.

Align labels with line direction

By default, labels are placed in top-down and left-to-right readable positions. Occasionally, you may need to place labels in the same direction as the line features. In these cases, you can choose to align labels with the direction of the lines. This is useful for placing flow symbols on lines, such as the one-way arrows on a street map or the water flow direction on a hydrography map.

The following image shows the arrow label oriented to the line direction. This is used for showing the flow direction of the river.

The label is aligned to the direction of the line to show flow direction

  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 Position.
  6. Expand Orientation.
  7. Check the Align label to direction of line check box.

    This can be useful if flow arrow symbols are represented by glyphs in fonts and need to be placed in the direction of the line. Note that this option can result in labels being placed upside down.