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Align features to a traced line

In the Modify Features pane, Align Features Align Features reshapes segments of overlapping features within a specified buffer tolerance and aligns them to be coincident. You create the alignment path by tracing the segments you want to keep.

You can use this workflow to close gaps between overlapping features, for example, when you need to make a forest boundary coincident with a stream polyline feature. When features incorrectly overlap or appear braided, it is often caused when geometry is captured at different resolutions, scales, or time periods. For steps to close gaps between simple edges using map topology, see Align Edge.

Align features

To align features to a traced alignment path, click Align Features, select the features to be edited, trace the segments of the adjacent feature you want to keep, specify a buffer distance, and click Finish Finish or press the F2 key.

  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—Flashes the selected features in the map.
    • Zoom To Zoom to Selected—Zooms the view to the selected features.
    • Pan To Pan to Selected—Pans the view to the selected features.
    • Only Select This Unselect—Removes all other features from the selection.
    • Unselect Clear Selected—Removes 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. Click the map to stop tracing and create the alignment path.

    A buffer appears around the alignment path indicating the segments to be reshaped.

  8. In the pane, in the Align Tolerance text box, type the distance. and select the units to adjust the buffer.

    The buffer updates in the map.

  9. Check Insert Vertices to preserve the general direction of segments outside the buffer area.
  10. Expand Alignment Area to change the shape of the buffer area:
    • Side settings extend the buffer to the Right, Left, or Both sides of the traced line.
    • End settings terminate the buffer area at each end with Round or Square ends.
  11. Click Align.

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


In this topic
  1. Align features