Aligning Labels

Manifold provides a number of commands to quickly align labels relative to their default positions. These may be used to position labels to the upper right of points they identify or other relative positions. Alignment commands are in the Format toolbar for labels.


The default positions for labels depend on the method used for their creation:


ยท      Unbound labels will be created at the spot the label creation tool was clicked to create that label. The tie points of unbound labels may be moved about and the alignment of the labels relative to their tie points may be changed as well.

ยท      Bound labels are automatically created at the inner centroid of an area, are placed at the midpoint of a line and are centered on the position of a point. The tie points of bound labels many not be moved about, but the alignment of the labels relative to their tie points may be changed.


Tie Points and Tie Lines


Tie points and tie lines are the point locations and line shapes to which point labels that define the location and shapes of point and line labels.


Point labels are positioned within the labels component based on tie points. In the case of unbound labels, the tie point is the spot clicked when we use the Insert Label command to insert a new label manually.


When bound labels are created automatically using data fields, the tie point is the inner centroid for the object. When bound labels are created using points the location of the point will be the same as the location of the tie point.


We can see the tie point by opening the labels component in a window and choosing the View - Structure - Tie Points command.




If we have two labels we can see their tie points by checking on tie points.




The tie points appear as small gray boxes. We can move the labels by selecting them for editing and then moving the edit handles that appear at the tie point locations.


Line labels are drawn aligned to tie lines which may be seen by choosing the View - Structure - Tie Lines command.




Consider a line label that was created in a labels component by using the Insert Line Label command.




If we turn on View - Structure - Tie Lines we can see the virtual line to which the line label is anchored. Note in the above illustration that a fine gray line now appears showing the tie line to which the label is anchored.




We may wonder why viewing tie lines is at all necessary, since selecting any given label for editing with a CTRL-ALT click will show the tie line to which it is anchored as a side effect of showing edit handles.


The main reason is that turning on View - Structure - Tie Lines turns on tie lines for all labels in a labels component window at once, saving us from having to select each in turn for editing just to see its tie line.




Viewing tie lines for labels can be very useful in circumstances where the text specified for the label is not long enough to fill out the line at the given zoom. For example, the text in the above line label does not fill out the entire line.




By turning on tie lines we can see exactly what is the relationship between the text and the tie line defined for the label.


Object Boxes


Object boxes are rectangular boxes that outline the labels text. They are guides that appear only in a labels component window when the View - Structure - Object Boxes menu item is checked. They are used to see the alignment of labels text relative to tie points.


Suppose we have a text label that consists of multiple lines. [We will use a lengthy text label in this example because it shows the object box better.]




If we enable Object Boxes we see the outline that encloses the text.




If we enable Tie Points we see the tie point to which the text is bound and relative to which it is positioned.




The Align controls in the Format toolbar adjust the position of the label object box relative to the tie point for the label.




images\btn_format_text_align_left.gif We can click the Align Left button to position the text object box to the left of the tie point.




images\btn_format_text_align_centhor.gif We can click the Center Horizontally button to center the text object box on the tie point. This is the default position.




images\btn_format_text_align_right.gif We can click the Align Left button to position the text object box to the left of the tie point.


Align Controls



Align Left





Center Horizontally





Align Right





Align Top





Center Vertically





Align Bottom





The left-center-right and top-center-bottom buttons can be combined, for example, to create a right-bottom alignment.




Manifold label text justification applies to all labels in a given labels component using the Left, Center and Right justification buttons in the format toolbar.


For example, clicking the Left, Center and Right justification buttons in the format toolbar arranges labels as follows:


images\tbar_labels_left_justify.gif images\sc_labels_left_justify.gif



images\tbar_labels_center_justify.gif images\sc_labels_center_justify.gif



images\tbar_labels_right_justify.gif images\sc_labels_right_justify.gif


For obvious reasons, justification effects are best seen with multiline labels.


Aligning Labels to Lines


Bound labels created automatically from fields in line objects are always aligned automatically to their parent lines.




The text in the multiline label examples above is taken from the "How to Use This Book" section of Mr. Bunny's Guide to ActiveX, by Carlton Egremont III, ISBN 0-201-48536-2. One of the funniest programming texts ever written, this slim volume presents ActiveX concepts in the form of conversations between a cartoon rabbit and farmer.