Good Looking Annotation Blocks

Tired of the plain looking annotation blocks used for labels? Annotation blocks can contain geometry along with the data tags or attributes. A lot of users forget the annotation blocks are blocks and do not think about adding complex objects to them.

So if you want your labels to stand out and look more like “That Other Software” then think about creating your blocks with some symbols.

In my example I have a road map that has an Interstate highway in it. Instead of having a text label of “I-24” I created my annotation block with the interstate shield and the data value as the number.  The Red and Blue colors are solid hatch and the INTERSTATE letters are polylines. The Express Tools “Explode Text” works good for creating the letters.


The Interstate Shield Marker

Start with your marker or shield in this case, create it as you would a normal block and save the block definition. Hint, I create all my blocks and symbols in one file then use the design center to drag and drop as need in my maps.

Once you have the shield/marker created then go about creating the annotation template as you normally would.


Once you get into the block editor, before you create the Annotation Text, insert and explode the shield block you create. Do not forget you have all the AutoCAD commands and tools in the block editor, you can create layers, insert blocks, create text or most anything else you would do in AutoCAD. Now with the marker placed you where need it, go ahead and create the annotation text.


You need to keep in mind the text style, height, justification and the color for the annotation text. To simulate a white color I use color 255, a light gray, this way if I use a white/black background scheme in the drawing editor the color will stay.


With the annotation text placed, you may need to set the draw order of it to the front to ensure it is always over top of the hatching in the marker.

Now save and close the block editor then label away.


The finished Annotation Block in used, getting the text value from my OD table and using a nice symbol to label my Interstate Highways. You are not limited to just the interstate marker there’s plenty of road sign markers you can use in your maps. US Route or State signs can be created also, or how about speed limit signs or even city street signs.

For a refresher on getting some symbols to use and not having to start from nothing,


1 Response to “Good Looking Annotation Blocks”

  1. 1 lazydrafter 09/18/2008 at 9:41 AM

    Excellent tip! I love how Map 3D allows you to make blocks automatically label objects based on object data.

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