Create features along a line at an offset

The Offset tool Offset creates features at specified distances along a line at a specified perpendicular offset from the line. You can draw or trace the construction line, or select an existing line feature. This tool is available in the Modify Features pane.

For steps to change the default project units, see Configure unit settings for editing.

When you use this tool, consider the following:

  • This tool is intended for parcel workflows that create point and line features measured from the start of a line using station and offset measurements that are recorded on survey or engineering documents. For example, you can use this tool to update or create road rights-of-way points on either side of a route centerline.
  • COGO attributes are not written to the new features. For steps to update the direction and distance attributes for COGO-enabled line features, see Update COGO attributes.
  • Start and end distances are entered with respect to the construction line or selected line feature. The scale factor between the typed length and the actual line length is calculated independent of the ground to grid settings and can be different from your correction settings.
  • Other possible uses of this tool include creating parking stall line features. To create simple point features at specified intervals along a selected polyline, consider using the Points Along Line construction tool Points Along a Line.

To create features along a line at an offset, complete the following steps:

  1. On the Edit tab in the Features group, click Modify Modify Features.

    The Modify Features pane appears.

  2. Expand Construct and click Offset Offset.

    The tool opens in the pane.

  3. Check the Preview check box to display a preview of the construction line.
  4. To draw a two-point construction line, do the following:
    1. Click the Interactive tab.

      The editing toolbar appears at the bottom of the map.

      Editing toolbar
    2. Click the tool drop-down arrow and choose Two-Point Line 2-Point Line.
    3. Click the map, move the pointer, and click the map again.
  5. To trace a two-point construction line, do the following:
    1. Click the Interactive tab.

      The editing toolbar appears at the bottom of the map.

      Editing toolbar
    2. Click the tool drop-down arrow and choose Trace Line Trace.
    3. Click the line feature you want to trace and move the pointer along the line feature to draw the construction line.

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

    4. Click the line feature where you want the trace to end.
    5. Click Finish Finish.
  6. To select an existing line feature, do the following:
    1. Click the By Feature tab.
    2. Click Active Select Active Select and select the line feature.
  7. In the Range section, type the measured distances from the start of the line for the first and last stations. These values are usually available on the recorded survey document.
    1. In the Start from text box, type the distance for the first station, and press the Enter key.
    2. In the End from text box, type the distance for the last station and press the Enter key.

      The default end distance that is automatically generated is optional. You can delete this value if the end distance is unknown.

    The focus changes to the Distance field.


    Range values are used to calculate a local scale factor for the distances you type in the Values table. This scale factor appears in the pane with the line length. Because it is calculated from recorded measured distances, it can differ from your ground to grid corrections scale factor.

    When Ground to Grid Ground to Grid Correction is turned on and you have defined a range with start and end values, only offset distances are scaled by the corrections distance factor. If you delete the End value and a local scale is not defined, the station distances are also scaled by the ground to grid distance factor.

    To learn more, see Turn ground to grid corrections on or off.

  8. In the Values table, type the distance and offset values for the features you want to create.

    For large data entry workflows, consider using the numeric keypad for calculator-style efficiency.

    1. In the Distance field, type the station position along the construction line or the selected line feature, and press Enter.
    2. In the Offset field, type the perpendicular offset distance at which you want the feature created, and press Enter. A negative offset value automatically sets the Side field to Left.

      A new row is automatically added to the table.

    3. To delete a row, right-click the row and click Delete Row.

    If you are entering Station and Offset measurements from a survey document, the values likely appear in the stationing format used by surveyors. For example, STA: 10+34.05, OFFSET: 35.00'.

    Stations are reference points along a surveyed route or baseline, generally in 100-foot increments and the starting station doesn't always start at 0+00. An Offset is measured as the perpendicular distance from the referenced station.

    For example, if the first station at the beginning of a baseline is 0+00, the next station 100 feet away is 1+00. Therefore, a station number of 10+34.05 represents 1034.05 feet away from the starting station, calculated as 10*100 + 34.05.

  9. To add a row manually, click Click to add new row.
  10. Click the Choose a template drop-down arrow and choose a template. .

    This step specifies the features to create and the layer on which to create them.

  11. Click Create.

    The specified point features or vertices are created along the alignment (line) at the specified distances and offsets.

    All of your typed parameters remain in the pane until you manually change or delete them. This allows you to use the same data to create other features.

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