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FAQ: What is map annotation or graphic annotation?

Question

What is map annotation or graphic annotation?

Answer

Annotation stored in the map document is referred to as map document annotation, or sometimes graphic annotation. It may also be called map annotation.

There are two types of map document annotation. The first type is stored in the data frame in annotation groups. This is sometimes referred to as data frame annotation. The second type is stored on the page. This is sometimes referred to as page text or graphic text.

This document describes the two types of map document annotation, and is divided into two sections.

Data frame annotation stored in annotation groups:

* Text is stored in annotation groups which are part of data frame which are, in turn, stored in .mxd files.

* Each piece of text stores its own symbol. If there are too many pieces of text in the map, the .mxd files become very large and give poor performance. Geodatabase annotation is a good alternative.

* Each annotation group has its own reference scale which, together with symbol size, determines the size of text.

* Annotation group reference scales are editable in ArcGIS version 8.2 and later.

* New data frame annotation is created by converting from labels or by using the text creation tools on ArcMap's Draw toolbar.

* Annotation groups do not appear in the ArcMap Table of Contents. They do show up in the Data Frame Properties dialog box > Annotation Groups tab, and also in the list of available annotation groups from the Draw toolbar > Drawing menu > Active Annotation Target menu.

* New text is placed in the Active Annotation Target. This includes text created with the tools on the Draw toolbar, as well as text pasted from the clipboard. Set this on the Draw toolbar > Drawing menu > Active Annotation Target menu.

* To place new text in the Active Annotation Target when working in layout view, first double-click the data frame. Otherwise, new text is placed on the page.

* Editing data frame annotation is done using the tools on the Draw toolbar. It is not necessary to start editing.

* While in layout view, double-click the data frame to give it focus before selecting or editing text in that data frame.

* It is possible to associate an annotation group with a layer in the map, but this is a loose connection that only toggles the annotation group's visibility when the associated layer is turned on or off.

* Data frame annotation is never feature-linked. Only geodatabase annotation can be feature-linked.

Page annotation:

The rules for page annotation are the same as for data frame annotation stored in annotation groups, with these exceptions:

* Text is stored in page space instead of geographic space. In other words, page coordinates are used instead of geographic coordinates. This means that as one zooms and pans on the map's data, page text stays fixed on the page.

* Page annotation is only visible in layout view.

* Newly placed text is placed on the page when in layout view and no data frame has focus.

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