Create a dimension feature class

Dimension features are stored in dimension feature classes in geodatabases.


You can create dimension feature classes with ArcGIS Desktop Standard and ArcGIS Desktop Advanced licenses only.

When creating a dimension feature class, there is at least one dimension style available. You can specify the properties of the style, select the style from the dimension style gallery, or use the Create Feature Class wizard to create a default style.

Once you've created a dimension feature class, you can create additional styles in the Feature Class Properties pane.

  1. Create a dimension feature class in the Catalog view or the Catalog pane.
    • Catalog view—Double-click a geodatabase and click New > Feature Class in the Create group on the Catalog ribbon to open the Create Feature Class wizard.
    • Catalog pane—Right-click the geodatabase or feature dataset in which you want to create the dimension feature class and click New > Feature Class to open the Create Feature Class wizard.
  2. In the Create Feature Class wizard, on the Define page, type a name for the feature class in the Name text box. To create an alias for this feature class, type one in the Alias text box.
  3. From the Feature Class Type drop-down list, set the type of features that will be stored in this feature class to Dimension and click Next.
  4. On the Fields page, you can add fields to the feature class. To add a field to the feature class, click Click here to add a new field in the final row. A row is added to the list of fields. Type a name in the Field Name column, set a data type in the Data Type column, and click Next.

    By default, there are several fields that are added to a dimension feature class. These fields are required and cannot be deleted. To use fields from another feature class, click Import.

    Learn more about creating, modifying, and deleting fields

  5. On the Spatial Reference page, set the spatial reference of the new feature class. The Current XY box is highlighted. Under XY Coordinate Systems Available, browse to the coordinate system you want to use. You can search or filter to locate a specific coordinate system. You can also base the coordinate system for the new feature class on a layer in the current map, create your own coordinate system, or import a coordinate system from another feature class. When you're finished, click Next.

    To learn more about specifying a coordinate system, see Specify a coordinate system.

    If you're creating a dimension feature class in a feature dataset, the coordinate system is automatically set.

  6. On the Tolerance page, provide an x,y tolerance. The x,y tolerance is calculated based on the coordinate system specified. The default tolerance is sufficient in most cases. When you're finished, click Next.

    If you make changes to the x,y, tolerance and want to revert to the default value, click the Reset To Default button.

  7. On the Resolution page, the Accept default resolution and domain extent (recommended) check box is checked by default. The default resolution and extents are sufficient in most situations, but if you know that your data needs these properties changed, uncheck the Accept default resolution and domain extent (recommended) check box and edit the x,y, resolution value.
  8. Click Next.
  9. On the Storage Configuration page, customize how the feature class will be stored. To specify a storage configuration for the new feature class, click Use Configuration Keyword and choose the appropriate configuration keyword from the drop-down menu. Otherwise, Default is sufficient. When you're finished, click Next.

    Learn more about configuration keywords.

  10. On the Dimension Properties page, set the dimension-specific properties for the feature class by clicking the Reference scale drop-down menu and choosing a scale or typing a scale value. Then choose the Map units in which your dimension will be stored. The units should match the map coordinate system.

    The scale should be equal to the scale at which the dimension feature class will normally display.

    If you are creating a dimension feature class in a feature dataset, the map units are set automatically. The units match those of the feature dataset's coordinate system. If the feature dataset coordinate system is unknown, the units default to meters.

    Changing the reference scale of a dimension feature class is an intensive operation that requires an update of every feature's bounding box geometry. A reference scale change results in a change of dimension feature size, which can cause overlapping dimensions. Extreme care should be taken when modifying this property after a dimension feature class has been created.
  11. Dimension feature classes contain one or more styles. Click the Modify button to edit the default dimension style or click the Add dimension style button to add a new style. Repeat the substeps below until you've specified all the dimension styles needed.
    1. Click the Gallery tab and select an existing style to add to the dimension feature class.
    2. Set the properties for the dimension style on the Properties tab.
  12. Click Finish to create the dimension feature class.
  13. Optionally, to cease the creation of a dimension feature class and discard your changes at any time, click the close button at the top of the dialog box to close the Create Feature Class wizard.

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