How To: Change the text color of annotation feature classes created from CAD data


The CAD to Geodatabase tool is used to import annotations, points, polylines, polygons, and multipatch features from the CAD file. However in some instances, the text color and font from the CAD annotations are changed upon import. These changes may include the color being changed to black and/or the font style being changed as well. Here is an example:


The following steps explain how to convert the CAD text entities into an annotation feature class while preserving the original text properties.

Ensure the Catalog window is docked in ArcMap.

  1. Open an ArcMap session, and add the CAD annotation layer to the map document.

    a. Double-click the CAD file in the Catalog window.
    b. Select only the CAD annotation layer to add to ArcMap. Do not add the CAD group layer.

  2. Set the Display units to the units of the CAD drawing.

    a. Right-click the Layers data frame in the Table of Contents, and navigate to Properties > Data Frame > General tab.
    b. In the Data Frame Properties dialog box, set the Display under the Units box to the units of the CAD data, normally feet or meters.
    c. Click the Apply button, and click OK.

  3. Determine an appropriate reference scale.

    a. Zoom in on the annotation from the CAD file, until the text is displayed at a suitable size either for display in ArcMap, or for printing.
    b. Check the scale in ArcMap. The scale must be adjusted to an even value, for example, 1:800, 1:1600, or 1:2400.

    This becomes the reference scale entered when a new empty annotation feature class is created in the geodatabase feature dataset later.

  4. In the Catalog window, create an empty annotation feature class in a file geodatabase.

    a. In the Catalog window, expand the file geodatabase that was created using the CAD to Geodatabase tool.
    b. Right-click the feature dataset, select New > Feature Class. In the 'New Feature Class' dialog box, select 'Annotation Features'.

    c. Set the reference scale to match the scale displayed in ArcMap.

    d. Proceed through the rest of the New Feature Class dialog box by clicking the Next button until arriving at the final screen.
    e. To preserve the attributes from the CAD annotation, click the Import button, and navigate to the annotation layer from the CAD file, and click Add.

    f. Click Finish to close the New Feature Class dialog. The CAD attributes are added to the new annotation feature class.
  5. Add the 'Convert Coverage Annotation' tool to the ArcMap session.

    a. From the ArcMap menu bar, go to Customize > Customize Mode > Commands tab > select 'Label' from the Categories list.
    b. In the Commands list, search for the Convert Coverage Annotation tool.

    c. Drag and drop the tool icon into the main toolbar displayed in ArcMap. Once the tool is added to the toolbar, close the Customize dialog box.

  6. Click the newly added Convert Coverage Annotation icon, and the Convert Coverage Annotation dialog box opens asking to select the desired annotation layer to convert.

  7. In the Convert Coverage Annotation dialog box , select 'Into a database', and click the folder icon to navigate to the empty annotation feature class created in Step 4 to add the annotation. Click Convert, and click Close.
    The annotation features from the CAD file have now been converted into an annotation feature class stored in a file geodatabase and should now display correctly in ArcMap.

    The Convert Coverage Annotation tool also allows users to append additional annotation to the same feature class later, if necessary.

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