Create squares and rectangles

In the Create Features pane, the rectangle construction tool for polyline and polygon features creates single-part and multipart features. This tool allows you to sketch a prescribed square or rectangular shape and does not show the segment construction toolbar.

Vertices for z-enabled features are assigned z-values based on the current elevation input mode setting. To learn more, see Specify an elevation for 3D features.

To create a square or rectangular polyline or polygon feature, create the first and second vertex for one side of the feature, and then create a third vertex that defines the opposite corners.

  1. In the Catalog pane, do one of the following to add the layer to your map:
    • Expand Databases Databases, expand the database containing your data, and drag the feature class onto the map.
    • Right-click the default database and create a new polyline or polygon feature class.

    Creating a feature class or dragging one onto a map adds the layer to the current map and creates a feature template with default settings.

  2. On the Edit tab, in the Snapping group, enable your snapping preferences.

    You can press and hold the spacebar to temporarily turn snapping off as you sketch a feature.

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

    The Create Features pane appears.

  4. In the pane, click a polygon feature template.

    The construction toolbar appears at the bottom of the map.

  5. Next to the tool palette, click the Active template button Forward.

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

  6. 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.
  7. Click Rectangle Rectangle.
  8. Create the first and second vertex for one side of the feature, using one of the following methods:
    • Click the map.
    • Right-click, click Absolute X,Y,Z Absolute XYZ or press the F6 key, type the values in the dialog box, and press Enter.
  9. Create a third vertex that defines the opposite corners of the feature, using one of the following methods:
    • Click the map.
    • Right-click and use the context menu to specify x,y,z coordinate location, or distance and direction.
    • To create a square, right-click, click Width Width, type the width, click Height Height, and type the same distance.

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcutActionComment


Specify absolute X,Y,Z Absolute XYZ.

Open the Absolute X,Y,Z dialog box.


Specify the direction Direction.

Open the Direction dialog box.


Make the shape a square.

Constrain the shape to a square. Create the first point of the rectangle, press the keyboard shortcut, and drag.

Keyboard shortcuts for the Rectangle construction tool

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