provides two functions for labelling objects on the map
using values extracted from the tabular data attached to
for labelling of individual objects. Click on the object
to be labelled, at the point where the label is required;
an Automatic labelling function for labelling all
the objects in a layer. Automatic labelling is switched on
with the Label check box in the Layer Control
Labels are part of the map window, not part of the table.
The same objects can be labelled differently on different
Labels are attached directly to objects and are
always editable, whether or not the layer to which
dicy are attached is editable. Labels are always
on top of other objects.
Prior to using the label tool or automatic labelling, use
Map>Layer Control (Ctrl-L) to configure the
labelling function. In the layer control dialogue,
highlight the layer containing the objects to be labelled,
and click the Label button to display the labelling
options for the layer:
Objects can be labelled with any of the fields defined for
the table, or an expression (MapInfo Reference
pages 194 - 195). This allows labelling with unique
identifying information such as names (e.g. site or
geographical names) or identifiers (e.g. site reference
number, sampling IDs, object or event codes, street
String functions can be particularly useful as a means of
truncating long fields or picking out short codes from the
start or middle of a field, for example:
Right$(SamplcID,4) to pick out the last four
characters of an identifying number. Labels can also be
created by coneatenating fields, for example: Mapsheet.......
+Sitenum to concatenate the two fields separated by a
dash (text between........... is reproduced verbatim). A
line break can be inserted into the label with Chr$(10).
To use an expression for labelling, select Expression
... at the bottom of the Source pulldown list.
An existing expression can be edited by selecting
Expression ... again.
Coded fields can be used to write a number or abbreviation
for each object on the map as an alternative to the
symbols provided by thematic mapping (chapter 8). This can
be quite useful where there are a large number of values,
so that letters A though Z or identifying codes may
provide a better way of identifying objects than a
plethora of symbols. The objects themselves can be
replaced with the label by specifying N (no symbol)
using the object style dialogue and centring the
label (see below).
Custom labels (labels created with the Label
tool or labels dragged away from their original position
or for which the style or content have been modified) are
always visible. They are not affected by the visibility
check box on the Layer Control dialogue or the
visibility settings in the Label Options dialogue.
Automatic labels can be switched on and off by
checking On or Off buttons in the Label
Options dialogue, as well as by checking the
Visible box in the Layer Control dialogue, or
they can be displayed within a particular zoom range. A
red check mark (-) in the labelling column of the Layer
Control dialogue indicates that labels on that map
layer are zoom layered, and that the map is zoomed outside
the range of scales within which labels are displayed.
Where there are many labels the map can become a mess, so
Maplnfo allows labels to eliminated selectively through
Allow Duplicate Text, Allow Overlapping Text,
and Maximum Labels. By uiichecidng duplicate text,
you avoid multiple labelling of, for example, rivers which
have been recorded in several short sections. Uncheeking
overlapping text produces a clean map, but at the cost of
losing labels for objects in proximity to one-another:
this may be OK where one simply requires some
representative labels rather than systematic labelling.
Maximum labels sets an upper limit on the number of labels
None of these options gives the user much control over
what labels are shown and which are eliminated. A better
option is often to allow both duplicate andoverlapping
text, and then move the labels created to space them
neatly, with lines or arrow lines back to the objects (see
"Styles" below) where they have been moved substantially.
Because labels maintain a constant size relative to the
map window, and are generally larger on the screen than on
the printout of a map, it is very hard to position closely
spaced labels on a map window. Zooming in shrinks the
labels relative to the space available, so the result of
zooining out again is unpredictable.
To obtain a semi WYSIWIG display of the final map, first
adjust the map window to the final shape, orientation
(portrait or landscape) and coverage of the map. Set the
label size to the minimum acceptable for the final map,
say 4 point (it is a good idea to use a compact serifed
proportional font such as Times, as you can pack in a
maximum amount of legible information in a small space).
Don't worry about the appearance of the map, which is
probably a mess of overlapping labels.
Now open a Layout window containing one frame for
the map window, make sure the layout consists of one page
(or more if you intend to print the map over multiple
pages) in the same orientation as the map and resize the
map frame (holding down Shift so that its shape
doesn't change) to fill the layout. Position the layout
window beside the map window and set it to view the
layout at 100% or larger scale (Layout>Change Zoom).
Use Layout>Options and set Show frame contents
to Always - this will ensure that the layout window
is updated as each change is made in the map. If this
proves too slow, change to Only when Layout Window is
Active, which means you will have to activate the
layout window after a few changes have been made to see
You can now adjust the position of the labels on the map
and observe the final effect on the layout. The main
difficulties are finding the label you want to move in the
mess of labels on the map window (it may help to pull
closely-spaced labels right out of the way and then move
them back one by one) and finding the part of the map you
are working on in the layout window.
The text style button allows setting of the
font and styles (pages 118 - 119) to be used for labelling.
Although Maplnfo only shows point sizes down to 8 point in
the pulldown list, smaller point sizes can be typed into
the dialogue and point sizes around 5 - 6 are often
suitable for labelling large numbers of objects. Smaller
point sizes can be used for output on a high resolution
laser printer than are legible on the screen.
The point size of labels relative to the map window stays
constant as the map is zoomed in and out, unlike text
objects on map layers, which get larger as you zoom in (as
did labels in MapInfo version 3).
When a label is dragged away from the object labelled, a
plain line or an arrowed line can be drawn between the
label and the object centroid (or the point labelled with
the Label tool). Cheek the appropriate entry under
Label lines. The style of the connecting line or
arrow can also be changed using the line style button.
Plain lines generally look better than arrows if there are
lots of label lines.
Labels are positioned relative to the
centroid' of the object they are labelling by clicking
one of the Anchor Point boxes. The default 2 point
Label Offset between the labels and the objects
being labelled is often inadequate for point objects,
resulting in a label which runs into the objects, and
should be increased until the desired effect is obtained.
Checking the Rotate Label with Line box
causes labels to follow the direction of the lines they
are labelling so that, for example, grid lines in the Y
direction will have text running vertically.
Labels, like other text objects, can be rotated
individually, or several labels can be selected and
rotated together, by dragging the rotation handle situated
just below the right hand end of the text.
If you enable labels and find that only some of
your objects have been labelled, check whether Allow
Duplicate Text and Allow Overlapping Text have
been enabled (page 140). If they are not, or if a limit
has been specified under Maximum Labels, then
labels will be eliminated from the map in a somewhat
arbitrary manner. When a value is set for maximum labels,
labels are displayed in the order in which the records
occur in the table until the maximum number is reached,
then no further labels are displayed.
If all your labels are missing, look to see whether a zoom
range has been specified under Min. Zoom or Max.
Zoom. Look for a red check mark in the labelling
column in the Layer Control dialogue, which
indicates that the map is outside the range of scales for
which labelling has been enabled.
Text copied from:
Understanding MapInfo: A Structured
Ian Johnson, 1996
Archaelogical Computing Library
University of Sydney, NSW