How To: Rotate geographic features in a data frame but maintain the left to right position of annotations


When rotating geographic features by rotating the data frame in ArcMap, annotations contained within the map also rotate with the data frame. This behavior is by design. However, in some instances, users may want to maintain the left to right position of annotation after rotating the data frame.

The instructions provided describe how to prevent annotation from being rotated when rotating the data frame.


  1. Close any ArcMap and ArcCatalog sessions.
  2. Open the ArcMap Advanced Settings utility file from the ArcGIS Desktop installation folder. The file is usually located in the following location: C:\Program Files (x86)\ArcGIS\Desktop10.5\Utilities.
The ArcMap Advanced Utility
The version number depends on the ArcGIS Desktop version used.
  1. In the ArcMap Advanced Settings Utility dialog box, on the Symbols/Graphics tab, under Label annotation, ensure that the Produce annotation that is rotated when converting labels to annotation when the data frame is rotated option is checked. The other two options must be unchecked.
  2. Click Apply > Close.
The Label Annotation option in the Symbols/Graphics tab
  1. On the Labeling toolbar in ArcMap, click the Labeling drop-down menu, and select Options.
  2. In the Labeling Options dialog, under Data Frame Rotation, uncheck the Rotate point and polygon labels when data frame is rotated option, and click Apply > OK.
The Labeling Options dialog box

When the angle of the data frame rotation is specified in the General tab of the Data Frame Properties dialog, only features on the map are rotated; labels are not rotated with the features. Convert the labels to annotation, and the annotation is created at the desired left to right position. For more information, refer to ArcGIS Desktop Help: Converting labels to annotation.

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