Connect line segments for labeling

The Maplex Label Engine Line connection options combine groups of individual line features with the same name into a single linear feature for the label engine. This is helpful because linear features, such as pipelines and utility networks, are often digitized as many small segments that must be connected to represent a single real-world feature. If the segments are not connected, the feature may appear cluttered, with the same label repeated along its length for each segment. Line connection is applied when placing labels with the Regular placement and River placement styles.

The line connection type allows you to control how junctions are handled when lines are connected. There are two options:

  • Minimize labels—The emphasis is on labeling the features so that a minimum number of labels are required. Rather than placing a label on either side of the junction for the same feature, it may place a single label on one side of the junction or the label may span the junction. The first image below illustrates this setting.
  • Unambiguous—Junctions in the network are labeled so there is no ambiguity about which feature is which. This tends to place more labels on the map than the Minimize labels option, because the same feature may be labeled on either side of the junction. This is the default. The second image below illustrates this setting.
Line connection set with Minimize labels option
Line connection set with Unambiguous type, which is the default

When line connection is turned on, the Maplex Label Engine always connects line segments, so the number of output labels will not match the number of input label features.

You may want to turn off line connection in cases such as the following:

  • You want every line feature individually labeled.
  • You want to view labels for all the segments to identify problems with your labels.
  • You want to see each feature labeled to view the improvement in label placement with the line connection.

When line connection is turned off, you can specify how labels are placed per feature:

  • One label per feature—A label is placed for every feature. Duplicate labels are not removed. If you have a multipart feature, this option places one label for the entire multipart line.
  • One label per part—A label is placed for each part of a multipart feature. Duplicates are not removed.
  • One label per segment—A label is placed for each segment of a line feature. A segment is the portion of line that connects the vertices. Duplicates are not removed.

To connect line segments for labeling, complete the following steps:

  1. Ensure that the Maplex Label Engine is enabled.
  2. Ensure that List By Labeling is the active method of displaying the Contents pane. Click the List By Labeling tab List By Labeling.
  3. Choose 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. In the Labeling pane, click Position and click the Conflict resolution tab Conflict resolution.
  6. Expand Line connection.
  7. Specify how you want the features connected or if you want them to be unconnected for labeling.

    Check the Connect features check box.

    Choose the line label type: Minimize labels or Unambiguous.


    When labels are aligned with line direction, they are placed unambiguously.

    Uncheck the Connect features check box.

    Choose the line label type: One label per feature, One label per part, or One label per segment.