Labeling Map Features
Labels are a key concept in Ortelius. Unlike ordinary text placed with the Text tools, labels are attached to map features. If the feature moves, the label moves with it. Labels make naming map features easy with intelligent naming, advanced styling, and just-right positioning.
Ortelius’ labeling system opens a new chapter in WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) feature labeling. No more going through multi-level menus and dialogs to turn on labels and change settings, only to have to repeat the process multiple times to get the right look. Direct feature labeling provides a revolutionary new way to add and edit labels – directly on your map.
Note: As of version 1.0.4, selected labels can be turned on or off (visible or hidden) on your map by selecting the labeled features and choosing Edit > Labels & Text > Hide(Show) Labels from the main menu. Choose Edit > Select All and then Hide Labels to turn off all labels on a layer.
Label Symbols, Tracks, and Shapes
Each feature type – lines, points, and areas – has context-sensitive positioning for labels. For example, symbol labels for point features can be placed in one of nine standard positions around and at the center point (the upper-right position is the default). Track labels follow linear features and are positioned above, on, or below the line. Area feature labels are placed at the visual center of the shape.
Labels can also be moved into any position around the symbol by simply holding the SHIFT key on the keyboard while moving it into the perfect position. Optional leader-lines can be added by right-clicking the label and choosing “Show Leader Line.” Of course, if it is ever needed, you can always right-click the label and choose “Detach Label” to move it anywhere (the label will be completely detached from the feature and its attributes, and become an ordinary text object).
Free-text labels may be added to any point symbol, track, or shape object. Currently simple shapes, connectable tracks, symbols, and shapes from imported Shapefiles support labeling. If you have an area object created with another drawing tool, for instance an irregular polygon, select the object and choose Graphic > Convert To > Shape from the main menu, or right-click the object and choose Convert To Shape.
To add a label, select the symbol, track, or shape and choose Edit > Labels & Text > New Label or right-click object to choose New Label. If the feature has attribute information behind it that includes the feature’s name, the label will automatically detect and label the feature with its name. Otherwise, the word “Label” will be inserted for editing. Double-click the label to select it. You will see a code starting with “%%” highlighted – ignore this and just start typing your free-text label with the text you want to see. As with simple text objects, double-click the label to edit it any time.
Related topic: Intelligent Labeling With Attributes
Labeling Multiple Features
The power of Ortelius’ labeling system includes swift labeling of the features you want – all features or just a select few. Manually adding a label to each feature is not necessary. Select the features you want to label and choose Edit > Labels & Text > New Label from the main menu. If you want to stylize your label first, follow the steps described below. After stylizing a label for one feature, it is a simple matter of copy and paste it to others. The label’s style, content, and placement properties will be copied to the other objects.
Step 1. Right click on your new label and choose Copy Label.
Step 2. Select the features you want to label and choose Edit > Labels & Text > Paste Label from the main menu. The label and its properties will be applied to all the features you have selected.
Step 3. There is no step 3! Can it be that easy? Yes, it can.
HINT: To select the features you want labeled hold down the SHIFT key and click each object with the Select tool, or use Edit > Select All to select all features on a layer, or use Ortelius’ advanced search to select specific features (for example, to select and label cities with populations over 100,000). Then choose Edit > Labels & Text > Paste Label from the main menu.
Labels With Style
Labels go hand-in-hand with the map’s styles and symbols, so of course we’ve designed them to work together. Ortelius is loaded with hundreds of styles and symbols. Styles not only define the look of lines and areas, they can also define the initial style for text adornments such as labels. So, when you place a river using a river style, the river’s label style is already designed for you. As always, label styles are fully editable directly on the map, and you can easily create and share your own custom styles using the Style Inspector (see Style Components).
Changing a label directly will not over-write the Library style, rather these changed label styles will be saved as “ad-hoc” styles unless they are created using the Style Inspector and added to the Library. Use ad-hoc styles when their use will be occasional. Use Library styles and symbols when they will be used repeatedly or need to be used later on other maps.
Changing label text styles is similar to changing them on simple text objects. To apply a pre-defined text style to any label, just select the label and choose the new text style from the Symbols palette. This method can be used with multiple labels at one time.
In Ortelius, all labels are selectable and you can edit the display properties of individual labels. To edit the label style directly, select the label for editing and open Object Inspector’s Features pane to change the font, color, text mask, and more.
Selecting Multiple Labels
To select more than one label, SHIFT-click additional labels or COMMAND/Apple-click to select or deselect labels. Properties applied to labels, such as Fonts, apply to all labels in the selection.
Selected labels are shown using bubble-shaped highlights to distinguish the label selection from other kinds of selections in your drawing.
Copying and Pasting Labels
A label, its style properties along with its content, can be copied and pasted onto any other similar object or objects (shape, symbol, or track). Right-click onto a label and choose Copy Label from the context menu. Select the receiving object or objects and choose Edit > Text & Labels > Paste Label from the main menu, or right-click and choose Paste Label from the context menu.
An object can have multiple labels associated with it. For example, a symbol can have two separate labels positioned such that they do not overlap.
To temporarily hide labels on a layer, select the label(s) of interest or choose Edit > Select All from the main menu, and choose Edit > Labels & Text > Hide Labels. To show labels again, select the objects for which labels should be shown, or choose Edit > Select All from the main menu, and choose Edit > Labels & Text > Show Labels.
Alternatively, the Show/Hide Labels command is available from the context menu when right-clicking an object.
Select one or more objects to delete labels. Choose Edit > Labels & Text > Delete Label from the main menu.