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Introduction to feature templates

In the Create Features pane, a feature template is a predefined collection of construction tools that creates new features on specific layers. It appears as a clickable item with a name and a symbol that is defined by the symbology applied to the layer on which it creates features.

You can change the name, configure the tool palette, and edit attribute values that are applied to new features. You can document templates with searchable tags and a description that you can use to find templates that create specific content. Search criteria is not case-sensitive.

When you add new data to an active map or scene, a feature template is automatically created with default settings for each new layer. Other template types can only be created manually as described in the following table.

Template typeAuthoring methodFeature creation capabilities

Feature template

Manual and automatically generated

Single layer

Group template

Manual

One or more layers

Preset template

Manual

One or more layers

Table template

Manual

One or more layers

Feature templates

To learn more about the feature types you can create using feature templates, see Introduction to creating 2D and 3D features.

Feature templates

Feature templates create features from a single data source on a predefined layer. They are the default template type and the easiest to create and configure. When you add feature data to your map, a feature template is automatically generated with default settings. Generally, the template name corresponds to the layer name or a unique symbol value on which the features are created, but you can change it. You can also create and configure them manually.

For steps to create a feature template, see Create a feature template.

Group templates

Group templates can create several different features from multiple data sources on their respective layers. You create and configure them manually by referencing existing feature templates and assigning feature builders that automatically generate features based on what you create in the map using the pointer. The template you designate as the primary template and the tool palette you choose to show in the pane determine what you create in the map.

For example, you can assign a water service polyline feature template as the primary template and draw the waterlines in the map using the pointer. When you assign other feature templates to the group for your fitting, valve, and hydrant layers, you can configure them to automatically generate these features for you at specific and repeatable locations relative to the water service line.

You can choose new features or temporary construction lines to drive the creation of other features. The builders available to a component template are based on the features it creates and the features you create in the map using the pointer. Some builders include definable parameters, such as a distance from an endpoint or an offset from a polyline feature.

To learn more, see the following:

Preset templates

Preset templates create features from multiple data sources in a fixed pattern at an insertion point in a map using point construction tools. You create and configure them manually by selecting features in a map. Component templates are automatically generated for the selected features, and a fixed snapshot of the selected features is stored with the template.

To learn more, see Create a preset template.

Table templates

Table templates generate records in related tables when you create a new feature that participates in a relationship class. When you add a table to the contents of your map, a table template is automatically generated. You can also create and configure table templates manually when your map contains a relationship class that defines a feature class referenced by a feature template as the origin and the related table in your project as the destination.

For example, if your project contains a relationship class that associates a parcel feature class as the origin and a table containing owner information as a destination table, you can create a table template called Owners that references the destination table. Adding this table template to the Parcel feature template generates a record in the Owners table each time you create a new feature.

Table templates are added to feature templates as a component template and do not appear as a stand-alone template in the Create Features pane. Adding them to feature templates eliminates the need to click Add New To Relationship Relates in the Attributes pane each time you create a new feature that participates in a relationship class.

To learn more, see Create a table template.