Managing annotation feature class properties

The Feature Class Properties dialog box is used to set the alias, spatial, and attribute indexes, as well as manage properties unique to annotation feature classes—annotation classes, symbols, and settings that determine how the annotation features can be edited.

To open the Feature Class Properties dialog box, double-click an annotation feature class in the Catalog tree. Note that some properties are editable, while others are read-only.


The Fields tab lists the fields in the annotation feature class. The following are required fields and can't be deleted:

The SymbolID field normally contains a value greater than or equal to 0. This value is the number of the text symbol in the symbol collection. If the value is -1, the annotation feature is storing the display properties in the record, and it is not referencing a text symbol in the symbol collection. When the SymbolID value is -1, the Override field value is 0, as every property is overridden.

Learn more about text symbols in the symbol collection

Other fields in the feature class reference the annotation feature's display properties. These fields can be edited, and doing so updates the feature's BLOB element. Likewise, any change to the annotation feature through the Annotation tab on the Attribute Editor is updated in the fields. These fields can also be deleted. The list of these fields follows:

The Override field is not editable and is maintained by ArcGIS. When the override value is 0, the annotation feature is displayed using the SymbolID text symbol that it references and no display properties are stored in the record. When the override value is greater than 0, the annotation feature uses the SymbolID text symbol as a base display and applies the overridden properties to that symbol. See the table below for a list of these possible values. The values that are seen in the attribute table are a sum of the values below. For example, if the override value is 65, then both the XOffset (1) and Size (64) properties are overridden (1+64=65).

Override value

Overridden property


XOffset property


YOffset property


Horizontal Alignment property


Vertical Alignment property


Flip Angle property


Size property


Color property


Character Spacing property


Character Width property


Word Spacing property


Leading property


Bold property


Italic property


Underline property


Background Symbol


Font property

Override constants


If the annotation feature class has more than one annotation class, the annotation classes are implemented as subtypes. The Subtypes tab lists the annotation classes. However, to manage annotation classes, use the Annotation Classes tab.


For feature-linked annotation in ArcCatalog, the Relationships tab displays the relationship class that links the annotation feature class to its associated feature class.

Annotation classes

The Annotation Classes tab allows you to manage annotation classes. You can add and remove annotation classes from the list. To modify or view the properties of an annotation class, select the annotation class in the list and access the properties with any of the controls on the tab.

Learn more about annotation in the geodatabase

Other properties

The Annotation tab allows you to change the reference scale of the annotation feature class. Changing the reference scale takes a long time to complete, so change it only after you've carefully chosen a new scale by experimenting with your data in ArcMap.

The Annotation tab also allows you to set properties that affect how the annotation can be edited.

Learn more about annotation feature class editing properties

The symbol collection lists the predefined text symbols you can assign to annotation features when creating or editing them in ArcMap.

Learn more about annotation in the geodatabase

Related Topics