Creating a Map Layout from Start to Finish - Labels

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Labeling Features

Labeling features is one of the most important things we do in cartographic layouts. While there are lots of options and adjustments within the Labels tab, the basic operation to add labels to a layout are:

  1. Open the Layer Properties and the Labels tab
  2. Place a checkbox in the “Label features in this layer”
  3. Drop down the “Label Field” to find the field which to label by
  4. Adjust advanced options as necessary


Advanced operations can be found through the various menus available by clicking on the buttons.

  • Placement properties controls how the labels draw on the map. The options in this menu are geometry dependent, meaning that points, polylines, and polygons all have different options.
  • Scale Range defines at what zoom levels the scales will appear and not appear.
  • Label styles contains pre-determined styles for several features. Like the placement properties, the available styles are geometry specific.
  • Using the Expression options, complex labels utilizing two or more attributes and any additional words or numbers.
    1. Open the Expression dialog box
    2. Double-click a field name to add it to the Expression box
    3. To add another field name, single click the name to highlight it, then click the “Append” button. The tool will add the required & ” ” & needed to concatenate the two field names.
      • To add additional words or numbers, type them in between the double quotes “”
    4. Verify the expression to check for errors
    5. Save the expression for use later; load a previously saved expression.