Modify features

The Modify Features pane Modify Features contains standard editing tools as well as specialized tools available with extensions. Most tools edit features interactively using the pointer. Some tools operate like geoprocessing tools and require parameters and clicking a run button.

A notification alerts you when an editing tool is actively filtering a selection. To restore the selection to its unfiltered state, deactivate the current tool by pressing the Esc key or clicking the back arrow in the Modify Features pane.

If you change an editing tool while sketching required geometry, for example when reshaping a feature, you are prompted to apply or discard the unfinished sketch.

Unfinished sketch geometry

For a basic workflow to create and modify features, see Get started editing.

Tool organization

Editing tools are organized on two tabs: All Tools containing the complete toolset, and My Tools containing your favorite tools.

  1. On the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Modify Modify Features.
  2. Click the tab containing your preferred toolset:

    All Tools

    The primary toolset for modifying features. This toolset can't be changed.

    My Tools

    A customizable gallery of your favorite tools that appears on the Modify Features pane and on the Edit tab, in the Tools group.

  3. Right-click a tool to add or remove it from other toolbars and galleries:

    Add to Quick Access Toolbar

    Add the tool to the Quick Access toolbar.

    Remove from Favorites

    Remove the tool from the tool gallery.

Customize tool display and sorting

To customize the size and arrangement of the tools, click Options Menu.

  1. On the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Modify Modify Features.
  2. Click Modify Features Options Menu.
    Modify Features Options
  3. On the Option menu, check or uncheck the following settings:

    Large Icons

    Display large icons.

    Small Icons

    Display small icons.


    Display tools in a single column. Uncheck this setting to automatically arrange tools to fill the current width of the pane.

    Group by Function

    Sort and display tools by functional category. Uncheck this setting to sort tools alphabetically by name.

Search for tools

To show tools that perform specific edits, type the name, category, or part of a name in the Search box Find.

  1. On the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Modify Modify Features.
  2. Click the search box and type the name or part of the name of an existing tool.

    Modify Features Search

  3. To clear the search box, click Delete Delete.
    • To remove the last character in the string, press the Backspace key.
  4. To restore a text string saved in the search history, click the drop-down arrow and click the text entry.
    • To delete all saved text strings, click Clear History.

Topological editing

To make topological edits, turn on map topology. Tools that can switch between feature and topological editing modes show Features and Edges tabs.

  1. On the Edit tab, in the Manage Edits group, click the Map Topology Map Topology drop-down arrow and enable map topology.

    When map topology is turned on, rubber band lines preview the topological connectedness of your edits as you move the feature. When the rubber band lines disappear, the connected features are no longer topologically connected and are not edited.

  2. On the Edit tab, in the Features group, click Modify Modify Features.
  3. In the Modify Features pane, click a tool that can switch between both types of editing modes, for example, Edit Vertices Edit Vertices.

    Edit vertices Edges

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