Create labels

Maps can display large amounts of geographic data in layers that generally overlap. The way you draw your layers helps to describe and identify features, but sometimes you need more than just a particular symbol or color or to convey what you want to say with your map. This is when labeling features can help. Labels are short pieces of text that describe features in a layer and help your audience understand what they are looking at.

The text for a label is usually derived from the layer attributes. To display labels for a layer, select one or more attributes you want to show, for example, the name or type of feature. The map viewer automatically places labels on the map on or near the features they describe. You can control the text size, color, and style to help differentiate labels from different layers. You can also specify at what zoom levels the labels are drawn on the map.

The map viewer places as many labels on the map as possible without overlapping them. Thus, in areas where features are tightly clustered, some features may not get labeled. Labeling priority follows the layer order in your map from top to bottom. Layers at the top get labeled first and will have the most labels. There is no guarantee that you’ll get the labels you want positioned exactly where you want them. Thus, dynamic labeling is best suited for maps where you don’t need precise control and only want to label a few layers.

You can create labels for features in hosted feature layers, ArcGIS Server feature service layers, individual layers from ArcGIS Server map service layers, CSV on the web, and layers from files.

  1. Verify that you are signed in and have privileges to create content.
  2. Open the map in the map viewer, click Details, and click Contents.
  3. Browse to the sublayer that contains the features you want to label, click More Options More Options, and click Create Labels.
  4. Check the Label Features box if it is not already checked.
  5. Create the labels by adding the following information:
    • Enter text for the label. Click [+] and select a field value to use as your label. You can also type static text instead of or in addition to the field value.
    • Make any adjustments to the size, style, and color of the text.
    • Check the box to add a halo outline around the text and choose the width and color of the halo.
    • Choose how to align the label relative to the feature.
  6. Adjust the visibility of the labels at different zoom levels. To set the maximum and minimum zoom levels for label visibility, drag one or both handles on the Visible Range slider. Words like Country, City, and Building can assist you in choosing the best zoom levels. If you want to set a more precise scale, click the drop-down menu beside the scale labels and type a representative fraction or choose a predefined zoom level.
  7. Click OK when you are finished creating your labels.
  8. Browse to the layer that you want to save, click More Options More Options, and click Save Layer to save the configuration as a property of the item. You can only save item properties if you own the layer or if you save it as a new item.
  9. If you have more than one layer with labels, you can organize the layers to affect how the labels are displayed. The layer at the top of your map contents is labeled first and has the most labels. The layer under your map contents is labeled next and has fewer labels, and so on.
  10. Click Save from the top of the map viewer to save the labels to the map.
  11. To remove or change the labels, click More Options More Options, click Manage Labels, apply the change, and click OK.