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Create segments by tracing other features

In the Create Features pane, Trace Trace creates polyline and polygon segments by tracing the geometry of other features with the pointer. This tool is available with polyline and polygon feature templates and on the construction toolbar when you create line segments.

When you create z-enabled polyline or polygon features, vertices are assigned z-values based on the current z-coordinate elevation setting. For steps to specify z-values, see Specify an elevation for 3D features.

Trace

  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.

    Dragging or creating a feature class 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:

    As you sketch the feature, you can press and hold the spacebar to temporarily turn off snapping.

  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.

    Construction toolbar
  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 Trace Trace.
  8. Click the feature you want to trace and create the first vertex.

    The first vertex is created and a dashed line appears along the feature as you drag the pointer.

    Tip:

    Press the T key to show the vertices of the feature you are tracing.

  9. Drag the pointer along the feature or features you want to trace.
    • To temporarily turn snapping off as you create the polygon, press the Spacebar.
  10. To complete the trace, click the map.
  11. To finish the feature, right-click and click Finish Finish or press the F2 key.

Keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcutFunctionDescription

O

Options

Opens the dialog box to configure the tool.

Tab

Negative Offset

Draws the offset at the opposite side. Press Tab again to toggle off.

Ctrl

Trace selected features

Traces only selected features when you press the Ctrl key and drag the pointer. When the optional setting Trace selected features only is enabled, you can trace selected and unselected features.

Keyboard shortcuts for the Trace segment construction tool

Trace with an offset

Use the Trace with an offset option to create segments at a specified offset. For example, you can click a water main feature template, set an offset of 7 meters, and trace along a parcel boundary to create water mains that run parallel to the parcel boundary at a constant offset.

  1. Click Trace Trace.
  2. Right-click and click Trace Options.

    The Trace Options dialog box appears.

  3. Check the Trace with an offset check box.
  4. Click the Units drop-down menu, set the format, and type the offset distance in the text box.
  5. Click OK.

    Your settings are saved and the dialog box closes.

  6. Trace the existing feature or features.
  7. Tip:

    Press the Tab key to toggle the offset to the opposite side of the feature.

  8. To finish the feature, right-click and click Finish Finish or press the F2 key.

Remove self-intersecting loops

Use the Remove self-intersecting loops option to prevent self-intersecting loops from occurring when Trace with an offset is set to a large offset distance.

  1. Click Trace Trace.
  2. Right-click and click Trace Options.

    The Trace Options dialog box appears.

  3. Check the Remove self-intersecting loops check box.
  4. Click OK.

    Your settings are saved and the dialog box closes.

  5. Trace the new feature.
  6. To finish the feature, right-click and click Finish Finish or press the F2 key.

Limit trace length

Use the Limit trace length option to limit the length of traced segments to a distance you specify.

  1. Click Trace Trace.
  2. Right-click and click Trace Options.

    The Trace Options dialog box appears.

  3. Check the Limit trace length check box.
  4. Type the distance and set the Units format.
  5. Click OK.

    Your settings are saved and the dialog box closes.

  6. Trace the features.
  7. To finish the feature, right-click and click Finish Finish or press the F2 key.

Trace selected features only

Use the Trace selected features only option to limit tracing to only the features you select in the map.

  1. On the Edits tab in the Selection group, click a selection tool and select the features you want to trace.
  2. Click Trace Trace.
  3. Right-click and click Trace Options.

    The Trace Options dialog box appears.

  4. Check the Trace selected features only check box.
  5. Click OK.

    Your settings are saved and the dialog box closes.

  6. Trace the selected features.
  7. To finish the feature, right-click and click Finish Finish or press the F2 key.

Corners

Use the Corners option to control the shape of corners.

  1. Click Trace Trace.
  2. Right-click and click Trace Options.

    The Trace Options dialog box appears.

  3. Click one of the following settings:
    • Mitered
    • Beveled
    • Rounded
  4. Click OK.

    Your settings are saved and the dialog box closes.

  5. Trace the features.
  6. To finish the feature, right-click and click Finish Finish or press the F2 key.