How to put Transparent Text on the map in ArcGIS

Originally posted at – Online blog

Wow, it’s been a while since I last posted, though if you’ve seen my Twitter feed you will understand why…yes, I am now a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society & Istitute of British Geography.

Thats’s not why you’re reading this though, you are probably reading this, shouting at the screen and calling me a liar, I am not, I have the maps to prove it! I’ll show you through the method below.

Lets consider this map:Transparent text fig1I want to make it look like the Ordnance Survey Explorer (folded) map(s) and have the map tile names displayed but transparent as not to hide any information. The text is currently being rendered from the layer “1_50000_Tile_finder”. Once I have the text looking similar to how I want it, convert it to annotation.

Transparent text fig2Right-click on the layer and select the “convert label to annotation” option

Transparent text fig3The trick here though, and I’ve made this mistake before, is you MUST SAVE TO DATABASE – as in the image below.

Transparent text fig4There now should be an extra item in your legend

Transparent text fig5If you open the properties of this layer, you will see that you now have a “Display” tab, you can adjust the text transparency here.

Transparent text fig6And voila! We have a finished map with transparent text!Transparent text fig7This was done in ArcGIS 10.3, but has been tested in ArcGIS 10.2 and works.

Nick D


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