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Problem: Formatted text tags appear as plain text on the map

Description

The ArcMap formatted text tags are not working correctly within labels and annotations.

Instead of displaying formatted text on the map, tags appear as plain text; that is, the actual tag syntax appears.

Cause

The primary causes for this are as follows:

1. There is a syntax error in the formatted text expression. In this situation tags will always appear as plain text.

Another series of causes relates to the text's geometry; these issues have been resolved in ArcGIS 9.0. Formatting tags appear as plain text if the text baseline geometry has more than two points. Several kinds of text fall into this category:

2. Dynamic labels following the curve of the line. This also includes annotation created from these labels.

3. Annotation created with the Splined Text tool on the ArcMap Draw toolbar. This includes annotation stored in the map and geodatabase annotation.

4. Prior to ArcGIS 8.3, any geodatabase annotation that is projected on the fly. This occurs when the dataframe has a different coordinate system from the Geodatabase annotation feature class. This includes straight and horizontal annotation.

This is commonly encountered:

a. When you add Geodatabase annotation to ArcMap and change the coordinate system of the dataframe to a different coordinate system.

b. When you convert dynamic labels to Geodatabase annotation while the dataframe has a different coordinate system from the target Geodatabase annotation feature class.

Note:
In ArcGIS 8.3 and later, you can control whether or not geodatabase annotation will curve or not curve when projected on the fly. However, when annotation is set to curve when projected, as in version 8.2 and earlier, text formatting tags will not work correctly.

Solution or Workaround

Solutions for the various scenarios are detailed below.

Note:
In ArcGIS 8.3 and later, there are new solutions available for some causes.

1. For syntax errors, modify the text expression to fix the problem. For information on proper syntax, click the Help buttons on the Text Properties dialog box and Label Expression dialog box.
[O-Image] Formatted text help buttons

2. You cannot use formatting tags in labels that follow the curve of the line. Turn off this setting in the label placement options to see the text display correctly.

3. Do not add text that contains formatting tags with the Splined Text tool. Instead, use the New Text tool or other text creation tools on the ArcMap Draw toolbar.

4a. In ArcGIS 8.2 and earlier, you cannot project Geodatabase annotation on the fly and have text with formatting tags display correctly. If possible, work with data that has the same coordinate system as the ArcMap dataframe.

In ArcGIS 8.3 and later, you can set up your system so that annotation will not curve when projected on the fly. This will allow you to use text formatting tags in annotation that is projected on the fly.
<a href='http://support.esri.com/en/knowledgebase/techarticles/detail/24228' target='_blank'>How To: Make annotation either curve or not curve when projecting on the fly in ArcMap</a>

4b. In ArcGIS 8.2 and earlier, do not convert labels to annotation when the dataframe has a different coordinate system than the annotation feature class. Clear the dataframe coordinate system and rerun the Convert Labels to Annotation command.

In ArcGIS 8.3 and later, set up your system so that geodatabase annotation will not become curved when converting labels to annotation in a project on-the-fly situation.
<a href='http://support.esri.com/en/knowledgebase/techarticles/detail/24228' target='_blank'>How To: Make annotation either curve or not curve when projecting on the fly in ArcMap</a>