Unable to select graphics or text in an annotation layer

Last Published: April 25, 2020


This article pertains to ArcGIS versions 8.x and 9.x. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.

Existing graphics or text in an annotation layer on the map cannot be selected. Newly created graphics or text in the annotation layer starts out selected, but cannot be selected again after unselecting it.


A known limitation causes graphics and text in any annotation layer on the map to be unselectable if the default annotation layer's visibility is turned off.


This issue is addressed in ArcGIS 9.0 Service Pack 3 (SP3). See Related Links for more information.

In the event the Service Pack is not available, complete the steps below to turn on visibility of the default annotation layer:

  1. Right-click the data frame in the Table of Contents, and select Properties.
  2. Select the Annotation tab.
  3. Check the box corresponding to the <Default> annotation layer. The graphics or text in any visible annotation layer is selectable.

Article ID:000004759

  • ArcMap 9 x
  • ArcMap 8 x

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