Align features to a traced line

In the Modify Features pane, Align Features Align Features removes gaps between polyline or polygon features. You can control how segments within a specified buffer tolerance of the traced alignment path are reshaped and made coincident.

Aligning features this way is commonly used to align parcel boundaries or complex feature geometry that has been captured at different resolutions, scales, or time periods. When you turn on map topology, connectivity among features is preserved among features that share coincident geometry.

Optional settings include aligning features without a selection, aligning the entire feature, aligning segments of a feature, and preserving the shape of the feature outside the tolerance buffer by adding vertices.

For steps to close gaps between simple edges using map topology, see Align a topology edge.

  1. On the Edit tab, in the Manage Edits group, click the Topology drop-down arrow and choose one of the following settings.
    • Map Topology Map Topology—Modifies adjacent features and maintains connectivity among all shared boundaries.
    • No Topology No Topology—Modifies only the selected features and creates coincident boundary segments between them.
  2. On the Edit tab, in the Snapping group, enable your snapping preferences.

    As you trace the alignment path, you can press and hold the spacebar to temporarily turn off snapping.

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

    The Modify Features pane appears.

  4. Expand Align and click Align Features Align Features.

    The tool opens in the pane.

  5. Select the features you want to align using one of the following methods.
    • Check Allow aligning features without a selection if you want to align editable features within the buffer tolerance without selecting them.
    • Click Active Select Active Select and select the feature you want to modify.

      To refine your selection, right-click a feature in the pane and use the commands on the context menu.

      Selection context menu

  6. Choose an alignment method.
    • Fit shapes to path—Updates the feature geometry inside the alignment area by adding the vertices from the path into the shape.
    • Preserve shapes ouside alignment area—Fits the shapes to the path and preserves the feature geometry outside the alignment area. Vertices are added at the edges for the alignment area.
    • Snap line ends to path—Snaps the ends of lines inside the alignment area to the path and preserves circular arcs and line feature shapes. No vertices are added.
  7. Trace the alignment path to which you want the selected feature to align.
    1. Click Draw the alignment path Align Features.
    2. Click an edge on the alignment feature and drag the pointer along its boundary.
    3. Click the traced edge to stop tracing.

      Press the Esc key to cancel the trace and create a new one.

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

  8. In the Align Tolerance text box, type a distance from the alignment path that covers the segments of the feature you want align.

    Notice how the buffer updates as you change the tolerance value.

  9. Expand Alignment Area and choose the shape of the tolerance buffer.
    • Both Both Sides—Both sides
    • Left Left Side—Left side only
    • Right Right Side—Right side only
    • Round Round End—Extends the ends of the alignment area in a circular arc at the tolerance distance
    • Square Straight End—Terminates the ends of the alignment area at the endpoints of the alignment path
  10. Click Align.

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