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Create polyline features

In the Create Features pane, polyline construction tools create single-part and multipart polyline features. Segment construction tools appear on the construction toolbar when a tool allows you to sketch connected straight lines, arcs, and curves.

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.

The following sections include steps for creating continuous, 2-point, radial, and freehand linear features. For steps to create circular or square polyline features see the following topics:

Line

To create a polyline feature, click Line Line, and click the map, or right-click and specify a coordinate location for the first vertex. Right-click and use the context menu to specify coordinates or apply constraints, and use tools on the construction toolbar to create straight and curved segments.

  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 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.
    Tip:

    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 polyline 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 Line Line.
  8. Create the new polyline feature using one or more of the following methods:
    • Click the map, drag the pointer, and click the map again.
    • Right-click and use the context menu to specify x,y,z coordinate locations, distance, and direction.
    • Use the tools on the construction toolbar to include other segments in a series of connected arcs, curves, or straight lines.
      Construction toolbar
  9. If you are creating a multipart feature, right-click and click Finish Part Finish Part, and create the next component feature.
  10. When you finish creating the feature, right-click and click Finish Finish, or press the F2 key.

2-Point Line

To create a finished 2-point single-part polyline feature, click 2-Point Line 2-Point Line and click the map to create two vertices, or right-click and use the context menu to specify x,y,z coordinate locations. Creating the second vertex runs Finish Finish automatically.

  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 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.
    Tip:

    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 polyline 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 2-Point Line 2-Point Line.
  8. Create two vertices using one or more of the following methods:
    • Click the map, drag the pointer, and click the map again.
    • Right-click and use the context menu to specify x,y,z coordinate locations, distance, and direction.

    Creating the second vertex runs Finish Finish automatically.

Radial

To create polyline radial features, click Radial Spider, create the common vertex, create the individual endpoints for each line segment, and click Finish Finish.

  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 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.
    Tip:

    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 polyline 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 Radial Spider.
  8. Create the common vertex followed by an endpoint for each segment using one or more of the following methods:
    • Click the map, drag the pointer, and click the map again.
    • Right-click and use the context menu to specify x,y,z coordinate locations, distance, and direction.
  9. When you finish creating the features, right-click and click Finish Finish, or press the F2 key.

Freehand

To create a free-form polyline feature using the pointer, click Freehand Freehand, click the map, drag the pointer, and click Finish Finish. All segments convert to Bézier curves.

  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 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.
    Tip:

    This tool temporarily disables snapping until you finish a feature. You can press and hold the spacebar to temporarily turn snapping on 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 polyline 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. In the pane, click Freehand Freehand.

    If snapping is turned on, it is temporarily disabled until you finish the feature.

  8. Click the map, drag the pointer, and create the feature.
  9. To finish the feature, click the map.

    Finish Finish runs automatically and segments are converted to Bézier curves.

Note:

Polyline feature classes contain the vector geometry of a feature and its descriptive attributes. When you create new polyline features, consider the following:

  • Polyline features consist of straight line segments, circular arcs, elliptical arcs, and Bézier curves created between vertices. You can create linear and curvilinear objects that have length but no area. Examples include water supply lines, roads, and streams.
  • Multipart polyline features are used to store noncontiguous polylines as a single polyline feature with one set of attributes. For example, you can create a series of separate polylines as road segments and store them as a single roadway feature. You can create single-part and multipart polyline features on the same layer.