Edit annotation attributes

In the Attributes pane Attributes, on the Attributes tab, you can edit the text string for annotation features and override display properties defined by the associated symbol. Editing a field value that defines a display property, such as the font name or text size, dynamically updates the appearance of the text in the active map.

For steps to add formatting tags or edit the text symbol, see Format annotation features.

As you override properties, the Override read-only attribute changes. When the override value is greater than 0, the annotation feature uses the text symbol as a base display and applies the overridden properties to that symbol.

To learn more, see Manage annotation feature class properties.

When you edit properties not defined by the symbol, the annotation feature stops referencing the symbol and all properties are stored in line with feature. When this happens, the symbol ID value changes to -1, and the override field value is set to 0; as every text property is considered overridden.


Editing properties that cause display properties to be stored in line increases storage requirements and can degrade display and query performance for the annotation layer.


Annotation created with ArcMap can be viewed and queried but not edited. To edit ArcMap annotation, upgrade the feature class. To learn more, see Upgrade Dataset.

Edit text and symbol attributes

To change the text that appears in the map, edit the TextString field. When editing a text string for feature-linked annotation, the best practice is to edit the attribute field on the source feature because changes to source features attributes overwrite feature-linked text string fields.

  1. On the Edit tab, in the Selection group, click Attributes Attributes.

    The Attributes pane appears.

    Attributes tab
  2. Click Select Select and select the annotation feature.

    The selection list appears in the pane.

  3. Click the Attributes tab.
  4. Expand the selection list and click the feature you want to edit.
    • To edit a field that is common to several features, press the Ctrl key while clicking items in the list.
  5. Click the field and edit the value.

    When an annotation feature class is configured to always maintain its connection to a text symbol, the attributes you can edit include the following:

    • TextString—The text string for the feature

    • FontName—The name of the font, for example, Arial

    • FontStyle—The name of the font style, for example, Regular

    • FontSize—The size of the font

    • Underline—Specifies whether the text is underlined—true or false

    • VerticalAlignment—The vertical alignment of the text—top, center, baseline, or bottom

    • HorizontalAlignment—The horizontal alignment of the text—left, right, center, or full

    • XOffset—Shifts the text position right or left

    • YOffset—Shifts the text position up or down

    • Angle—Rotates the text angle

    • FontLeading—Adjusts the spacing between lines

    • WordSpacing—Adjusts the spacing between words

    • CharacterWidth—Adjusts the character width

    • CharacterSpacing—Adjusts the spacing between characters

    • FlipAngle—Adjusts the angle at which point rotated text is flipped in place

  6. Press Enter to apply your changes, or click another field.
    • If Auto Apply is not checked, click the Apply button.

Field color codes

Fields that perform specific functions are highlighted with a color. The color codes are described in the following table:

Field colorDescription


Subtype field.


Symbolizes the layer.


The field Highlight property is enabled in the attribute table Fields view.

Attribute field color codes