Align features to a traced line

The Align Features tool Align Features reshapes features to be contiguous with other features based on a sketched line that is traced along existing feature segments. Features within a specified tolerance distance from the line are modified. This tool is available in the Modify Features pane.

This tool is commonly used to close gaps between adjacent features such as between parcel boundaries or complex feature geometry that has been captured at different resolutions, scales, or time periods and must be made coincident.

To close gaps between simple edges that share two common topology nodes, consider turning on map topology and using the Align Edge tool.

To align features to a traced line, complete the following steps:

  1. Add your data and configure settings for editing.

    Specify which layers can be edited, confirm that the coordinate system assigned to the active map is suitable for the type of edits you're performing, and enable the snap agents that allow you to work effectively with the data and workflow.

  2. On the Edit ribbon tab, click Modify Modify Features in the Features group.

    The Modify Features pane appears.

  3. Click the Align Features tool Align Features.

    To find the tool, expand Alignment, or type Align in the Search text box.

    The Align Features tool appears in the pane.

  4. Click the Select features to be aligned tool Active Select, and select the features you are aligning.

    If features are currently selected, the selection tool displays Change the selection.

    To refine the selection in the selection view, right-click a feature and click Unselect Clear Selected or Only Select This List By Selection.


    To align all features within the alignment area without selecting them, check the Allow aligning features without a selection check box at the bottom of the tool pane. This action hides the selection tool and the selection view.

  5. Expand Method and choose one of the following alignment methods:
    Fit shapes to path

    Update the feature geometry inside the alignment area by adding the vertices from the path to the shape.

    Preserve shapes ouside alignment area

    Fit the shapes to the path and preserve the feature geometry outside the alignment area. Vertices are added at the edges of the alignment area.

    Snap line ends to path

    Snap the ends of lines inside the alignment area to the path and preserve circular arcs and line feature shapes. No vertices are added.

  6. Click the Draw the alignment path tool Align Features in the tool pane, and drag the pointer along the existing feature segments to which you are aligning the feature.

    To stop tracing, click the traced segment. To cancel the trace, press Esc.

    A temporary tolerance buffer outlines the alignment area.

  7. Choose a unit format and type a distance in the Tolerance box.

    The alignment area updates to the specified tolerance distance.

  8. To change the shape of the alignment area, expand Alignment Area and choose one of the following options:

    Both Both Sides

    Draw the alignment area on both sides of the traced path.

    Left Left Side

    Draw the alignment area only on the left side of the traced path.

    Right Right Side

    Draw the alignment area only on the right side of the traced path.

    Round Round End

    Terminate each end of the alignment area with a circular arc.

    Square Straight End

    Terminate each end of the alignment area with a straight line that is perpendicular to the traced path.

  9. Click Align.

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