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Create polyline features

In the Create Features pane, feature templates for polyline layers include Line Line, 2-Point Line 2-Point Line, Radial Spider, and Freehand Freehand. These tools create single-part and multipart polyline features. To create them, click the map, right-click and use the context menu to specify coordinates or apply constraints, and use tools on the construction toolbar to create straight and curved segments.

When you create z-enabled 3D polyline features, vertices are assigned the current z-coordinate elevation setting. For steps to specify z-values, see Specify an elevation for 3D features.

Line

To create a new polyline feature, click Line Line, and click the map, or right-click and specify a coordinate location for the first vertex. Right-click and use the context menu to specify coordinates or apply constraints, and use tools on the construction toolbar to create straight and curved segments.

  1. In the Catalog pane, do one of the following to add the layer to your map:
    • Expand Databases Database Folder, expand the database containing your data, and drag the feature class onto the map.
    • To create a new data source, right-click the default database, click New, click Feature Class Polygon feature class, type the feature class name, choose Polyline for the geometry type, select the coordinate system, and click Run Run.

    The layer is added to the current map, and a feature template with default settings is automatically created.

  2. On the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Create Create Features.

    The Create Features pane appears.

  3. In the pane, click a polyline feature template.

    The template expands to show the tool palette, and the construction toolbar appears in the current map.

    Construction toolbar
  4. Next to the tool palette, click the forward arrow Forward.

    The tool palette and the feature attribute table for the active template appear in the pane.

  5. In the attribute table, type the values you want to apply to the new feature.
    • For group templates, click a template icon to display its attribute table.
  6. On the Edit tab, in the Snapping group, click the Snapping List By Snapping arrow and enable your snapping preferences.
    • To temporarily turn snapping off as you create the feature, press and hold the Spacebar.
  7. Click Line Line.
  8. Create the new polyline feature using the segment tools on the construction toolbar with one or more of the following methods:
    • Click the map, drag the pointer, and click the map again.
    • Right-click and use the context menu to specify x,y,z coordinate locations, distance, and direction.
  9. If you are creating a multipart feature, right-click and click Finish Part Finish Part, and create the next component feature.
  10. When you finish creating the feature, right-click and click Finish Finish, or press the F2 key.

2-Point Line

To create a finished 2-point single-part polyline feature, click 2-Point Line 2-Point Line and click the map to create two vertices, or right-click and use the context menu to specify x,y,z coordinate locations. Creating the second vertex runs Finish Finish automatically.

  1. In the Catalog pane, do one of the following to add the layer to your map:
    • Expand Databases Database Folder, expand the database containing your data, and drag the feature class onto the map.
    • To create a new data source, right-click the default database, click New, click Feature Class Polygon feature class, type the feature class name, choose Polyline for the geometry type, select the coordinate system, and click Run Run.

    The layer is added to the current map, and a feature template with default settings is automatically created.

  2. On the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Create Create Features.

    The Create Features pane appears.

  3. In the pane, click a polyline feature template.

    The template expands to show the tool palette, and the construction toolbar appears in the current map.

    Construction toolbar
  4. Next to the tool palette, click the forward arrow Forward.

    The tool palette and the feature attribute table for the active template appear in the pane.

  5. In the attribute table, type the values you want to apply to the new feature.
    • For group templates, click a template icon to display its attribute table.
  6. On the Edit tab, in the Snapping group, click the Snapping List By Snapping arrow and enable your snapping preferences.
    • To temporarily turn snapping off as you create the feature, press and hold the Spacebar.
  7. Click 2-Point Line 2-Point Line.
  8. Create two vertices using one or more of the following methods:
    • Click the map, drag the pointer, and click the map again.
    • Right-click and use the context menu to specify x,y,z coordinate locations, distance, and direction.

    Creating the second vertex runs Finish Finish automatically.

Radial

To create polyline radial features, click Radial Spider, create the common vertex, create the individual endpoints for each line segment, and click Finish Finish.

  1. In the Catalog pane, do one of the following to add the layer to your map:
    • Expand Databases Database Folder, expand the database containing your data, and drag the feature class onto the map.
    • To create a new data source, right-click the default database, click New, click Feature Class Polygon feature class, type the feature class name, choose Polyline for the geometry type, select the coordinate system, and click Run Run.

    The layer is added to the current map, and a feature template with default settings is automatically created.

  2. On the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Create Create Features.

    The Create Features pane appears.

  3. In the pane, click a polyline feature template.

    The template expands to show the tool palette, and the construction toolbar appears in the current map.

    Construction toolbar
  4. Next to the tool palette, click the forward arrow Forward.

    The tool palette and the feature attribute table for the active template appear in the pane.

  5. In the attribute table, type the values you want to apply to the new feature.
    • For group templates, click a template icon to display its attribute table.
  6. On the Edit tab, in the Snapping group, click the Snapping List By Snapping arrow and enable your snapping preferences.
    • To temporarily turn snapping off as you create the feature, press and hold the Spacebar.
  7. Click Radial Spider.
  8. Create the common vertex followed by an endpoint for each segment using one or more of the following methods:
    • Click the map, drag the pointer, and click the map again.
    • Right-click and use the context menu to specify x,y,z coordinate locations, distance, and direction.
  9. When you finish creating the features, right-click and click Finish Finish, or press the F2 key.

Freehand

To create a free-form polyline feature using the pointer, click Freehand Freehand, click the map, drag the pointer, and click Finish Finish. All segments convert to Bézier curves.

  1. In the Catalog pane, do one of the following to add the layer to your map:
    • Expand Databases Database Folder, expand the database containing your data, and drag the feature class onto the map.
    • To create a new data source, right-click the default database, click New, click Feature Class Polygon feature class, type the feature class name, choose Polyline for the geometry type, select the coordinate system, and click Run Run.

    The layer is added to the current map, and a feature template with default settings is automatically created.

  2. On the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Create Create Features.

    The Create Features pane appears.

  3. In the pane, click a polyline feature template.

    The template expands to show the tool palette.

  4. Next to the tool palette, click the forward arrow Forward.

    The tool palette and the feature attribute table for the active template appear in the pane.

  5. In the attribute table, type the values you want to apply to the new feature.
    • For group templates, click a template icon to display its attribute table.
  6. On the Edit tab, in the Snapping group, click the Snapping List By Snapping arrow and enable your snapping preferences.
    • To temporarily turn snapping off as you create the feature, press and hold the Spacebar.
  7. In the pane, click Freehand Freehand.

    Snapping is turned off temporarily. Your snap settings are restored when you finish the feature.

  8. Click the map, drag the pointer, and create the feature.
  9. To finish the feature, click the map.

    Finish Finish runs automatically and segments are converted to Bézier curves.

Note:

Polyline feature classes contain the vector geometry of a feature and its descriptive attributes. When you create new polyline features, consider the following:

  • Polyline features consist of straight line segments, circular arcs, elliptical arcs, and Bézier curves created between vertices. You can create linear and curvilinear objects that have length but no area. Examples include water supply lines, roads, and streams.
  • Multipart polyline features are used to store noncontiguous polylines as a single polyline feature with one set of attributes. For example, you can create a series of separate polylines as road segments and store them as a single roadway feature. You can create single-part and multipart polyline features on the same layer.