Displaying coverage and SDE 3 annotation

Displaying coverage and SDE 3 annotation

You can display and query ArcInfo Workstation coverage annotation, PC ARC/INFO coverage annotation, and SDE 3 annotation and change their display properties in ArcMap. However, editing of annotation in these formats is not supported, so you cannot edit the position or appearance of individual pieces of annotation in these formats.

You can use ArcMap to convert these types of annotation to geodatabase annotation. Geodatabase annotation is fully editable in ArcGIS. An essential step in converting to geodatabase annotation is to first correctly set the display properties of your ArcInfo Workstation coverage, PC/ARCINFO, or SDE 3 annotation.

ArcMap interprets coverage annotation, PC/ARCINFO annotation, and SDE 3 annotation in a similar manner. All three formats appear as layers in the ArcMap table of contents. You can change display properties for these layers on the Symbols tab of the Layer Properties dialog box.

As in ArcInfo Workstation, the display of these annotation types in ArcMap is based on pseudo item values stored in the coverages. One difference between ArcMap and ArcInfo Workstation is that ArcMap cannot access the textset file (used in ArcInfo Workstation to match text symbols to the annotation). Consequently, you need to manually specify the text symbol in ArcMap to be used for each $SYMBOL value in your coverage on the Layer Properties dialog box.

The following are some other factors to consider when displaying coverage, PC/ARCINFO, and SDE 3 annotation in ArcMap:

Changing the display of coverage and SDE 3 annotation


  1. Right-click the annotation layer name in the table of contents and click Properties.
  2. Click the Symbols tab.
  3. Click an entry in the list of symbol numbers ($SYMBOL) to see its display properties.
  4. Modify the display properties as necessary.
  5. Click the Text Symbol button to choose another text symbol or to change additional properties.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for all symbols as desired.
  7. Click OK.
When displaying coverage annotation, make sure that the entire coverage is drawn at least once at full extent. This ensures that ArcMap will add each unique level and symbol to the lists on the Levels and Symbols tabs. ArcMap initially scans the annotation coverage for unique levels and symbols but only searches the current extent. Consequently, all levels and symbols may not be listed if you do not initially allow the coverage to draw at full extent.
You can toggle the display of coverage annotation levels ($LEVEL) on the Levels tab of the Layer Properties dialog box.
All symbols for all levels are listed on the Symbols tab. The list of symbols has nothing to do with which levels are visible or whether or not a given symbol is used within a given level.
If your coverage or SDE 3 annotation contains leader lines, an additional symbol chooser will appear at the bottom of the Symbols tab in the Layer Properties dialog box. Clicking the arrow symbol shown will open the Symbol Properties dialog box, allowing you to choose a symbol. Coverage annotation leader lines do not respect any $SIZE settings for the text with which they are associated, so you should size the symbol appropriately and set a reference scale in the data frame if you want to ensure proper relative sizing between the leader line and the text.

Coverage and SDE 3 annotation placement

In ArcGIS, you can't edit the placement of coverage or SDE 3 annotation in ArcMap. To enable editing, you must first convert the coverage annotation to geodatabase annotation. Due to differences between ArcMap and ArcPlot, the display of coverage annotation in ArcMap may not be identical to what is in ArcPlot. To correct this difference, you can define the symbology before converting the annotation since it is easier to make global changes at this stage.

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