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Align features to a traced line

In the Modify Features pane, Align Features Align Features reshapes the segments of a polyline or polygon feature to match the alignment path of nearby traced boundary. You can specify the size and shape of the area around the alignment path where the segments are modified.

This workflow can be useful when you need to align complex shapes, for example, aligning a forest boundary with a stream polyline feature. For steps to close gaps between simple edges using map topology, see Align a topology edge.

Align features

Aligning features is the process of tracing an alignment path to which other segments are reshaped and typing an alignment tolerance. Overlapping or braided feature boundaries are often caused by geometry that has been captured at different resolutions, scales, or time periods.

  1. On the Edit tab in the Features group, click Modify Modify Features.

    The Modify Features pane appears.

  2. Expand Align and click Align Features Align Features.

    The tool opens in the pane.

  3. To align editable features without selecting them, check Allow aligning features without a selection in the pane and proceed to step 6.
  4. In the pane, click Active Select Active Select, and select the feature you want to align.

    The selected features appear as a list in the pane.

  5. To refine your selection, right-click a feature in the list and use the following commands on the context menu:
    • Flash Flash—Flash the selected features on the map.
    • Zoom To Zoom to Selected—Zoom the view to the selected features.
    • Pan To Pan to Selected—Pan the view to the selected features.
    • Only Select This Unselect—Remove all other features from the selection.
    • Unselect Clear Selected—Remove the feature from the selection.
  6. Click Draw the alignment path Align Features and drag the pointer along the segments you want to keep.
    • Press the Esc key to cancel the trace and create a new one.
    • Press and hold the Spacebar to temporarily turn snapping off as you create the cutting line.
    • Press and hold the Ctrl key to limit the trace to selected features.
  7. To stop tracing and create the alignment path, click the map.

    A buffer appears around the alignment path indicating the area in which segments will be modified.

  8. In the Align Tolerance text box, type the distance in map units from the alignment path that defines the area you want to modify.

    The buffer updates on the map.

  9. To preserve the general shape of segments outside the tolerance area, check Insert Vertices.
  10. Expand Alignment Area and refine the tolerance area around the alignment path:
    • Both—Both sides
    • Left—Left side only
    • Right—Right side only
    • Round—Extends the ends of the alignment area in a circular arc at the tolerance distance
    • Square—Terminates the ends of the alignment area at the endpoints of the alignment path
  11. Click Align.

    Segments inside the alignment area are reshaped and made coincident with the traced alignment path.


In this topic
  1. Align features