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Place labels using internal and external zones

With the Maplex Label Engine options May place label outside polygon boundary and Place label at fixed position within polygon, labels can be placed in user-defined zones inside and outside polygon features. You can specify the order of the placement zones by ranking them uniquely or specifying a value of 0 to block the zone from being included in the trial positions.

When using external and internal zones, you have the option to set a label offset to determine the distance that the label is placed from the polygon boundary.

Learn more about setting a label offset

External zones

The May place label outside polygon boundary option is available with Horizontal, Straight, and Curved polygon placement styles. When this option is checked, you will be able to specify the preferred external zones for label placement. You will also be able to set External zones if you specify the Horizontal around polygon placement style. You control the order that the zones are tried for placement by ranking the zones on a scale of 1–8, where 1 is the first zone in which you want the Maplex Label Engine to try to place the label and 8 is the last zone. You can give a zone the value 0 to prohibit labels from being placed in it. While multiple zones can be blocked with 0 ranks, the other zones must have unique ranks. When the Maplex Label Engine starts to place the labels, it evaluates the blocked zones and the amount of congestion around the point feature, considers the location of other features and labels, and then places the label in the best available zone.

  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 Placement.
  7. For the External zones, type a value between 1 and 8 for each zone.

    Each zone should have a unique value between 1 and 8. You can block one or more zones from consideration by typing a value of 0 for the zone.

    If External zones is not available, ensure that the Regular placement style is chosen from the drop-down list; the Horizontal, Straight, or Curved placement position is chosen; and the May place label outside polygon boundary check box is checked. The Offset horizontal placement can also be used.

  8. Optionally set a label offset.

Internal zones

The Place label at fixed position within polygon option is available with the Horizontal or Straight polygon placement styles. When this option is checked, you will be able to specify the preferred internal zones for label placement. You control the order by ranking the zones on a scale of 1–9, where 1 is the first zone in which you want the Maplex Label Engine to try to place the label and 9 is the last zone. You can give a zone the value 0 to prohibit labels from being placed in it. While multiple zones can be blocked with 0 ranks, the other zones must have unique ranks. When the Maplex Label Engine starts to place the labels, it evaluates the blocked zones, considers the location of other features and labels, and then places the label in the best available zone. If the label placement style is straight, the interior zones will be oriented along the major axis of the polygon instead of being oriented to the page.

  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 Placement.
  7. For the Internal zones, type a value between 1 and 9 for each zone.

    Each zone should have a unique value between 1 and 9. You can block one or more zones from consideration by typing a value of 0 for the zone.

    If Internal zones is not available, ensure that the Regular placement style is chosen from the drop-down list, the Horizontal or Straight placement position is chosen, and the Place label at fixed position within polygon check box is checked.

  8. Optionally set a label offset.