Introduction to feature templates

Feature templates create features. They comprise a set of construction tools, default attribute values, source layer information, and other properties for creating 2D or 3D features on specific layers. Feature templates are available in the Create Features pane.

When you use a feature template, consider the following:

  • You can create multiple feature templates for the same layer and configure them to show different tools and apply different attribute values.
  • The symbol that appears next to the template name is derived from the source layer symbology. Group templates reference the primary template layer.
  • If you change a construction tool while drawing a feature, you are prompted to apply or discard the unfinished geometry. You can turn this message on or off in project settings for editing.
    Uncommitted sketch message

Authoring methods

Feature templates are automatically generated with default settings when you add feature data to a map or scene. Other template types such as Group or Preset templates are created manually. The various template types and their authoring methods are listed in the following table.

Template typeAuthoring methodFeature creation capabilities

Feature template

Manual and automatically generated

Single layer

Table template

Manual and automatically generated

Single layer

Group template


One or more layers

Preset template


One or more layers

Template types and authoring methods

Tool palettes

The tools that appear on a template tool palette are configured in the Template Properties dialog box. You can show or hide construction tools that are available for a template and choose which tool runs automatically when a template is clicked.

Feature template tools

Feature templates

Feature templates create features on a specified source layer using a manual workflow. They are the default template type in ArcGIS Pro. If you used feature templates in ArcMap, you are familiar with their properties and how they work.

By default, attribute values saved with a template are applied to new features. They can include a mix of geodatabase default values and template default values. To override these values before you create a feature, click the Active template button Forward and enter the attributes manually.

To get started, see Create a feature template.

Feature template Attributes tab

Group templates

Group templates create multiple interrelated features on multiple source layers using a semiautomated workflow. For example, you can draw a waterline as a primary feature and the template adds a fitting and a valve at preconfigured distances along the line.

On the Builders tab, you can add one or more feature templates and configure them with builders to generate features. The attribute values for each component feature are maintained on their respective origin source feature template.

One feature template in the group is designated as the primary template and influences what you can draw, the tools you can show on the tool palette, and other source feature templates you can add to the group.

To get started, see Create a group template.

Group template Builders tab

Preset templates

Preset templates create collections of features in repeatable patterns. For example, you can add a selected cluster of trees or the components of a utility cabinet in a fixed arrangement using the Point tool Point or specify a rotation angle using the Point with rotation tool Rotate Preset.

On the Features tab, type the attribute values you want to apply to new features and override the geodatabase default values. By default, the insertion point is the geometric center of the selected feature. You change this on the Preview tab.

To get started, see Create a preset template.

Preset template Features tab

Table templates

Table templates insert records (rows) into existing tables and write the stored attribute values to the specified fields. You can use table templates directly or add them to feature templates to automatically add new features to related stand-alone tables defined by a relationship class.

To get started, see Create a table template.

The Create Features pane

In the Create Features pane, table templates appear with a table icon and the Insert Row command Insert Rows. If the template is authored to prompt for attributes values, the specified fields also appear in the pane.


Inserting a row using a stand-alone table template ignores any relationships in which the table is participating.

Insert Row

Click the Active Template arrow Forward to specify the number of rows.

Active Template

The Attributes pane

Selecting a row in a table shows the selection in the Attributes pane tree view. To add a row to the table using a table template, right-click the layer name and click Insert Row Insert Rows.

Attributes pane

Choose a table template, specify the number of rows, and click OK.

Insert Row


If a feature template creates features that participate as the origin in a relationship class, you can add a table template for the destination table on the Relationships tab. As you create features, new features are automatically added to the related table.

Table template relationships


Add a table template to a feature template to streamline a workflow that routinely uses the Attributes pane to add a feature to a relationship.

A common practice is to set a feature template attribute to store or prompt for an origin primary key value. When you create a feature, a new record is generated in the destination table with the associated foreign key and the attribute values you specified with the table template.

To view the primary and foreign key for a relationship class in your project, show the Catalog pane, right-click the relationship class, and click Properties.