Interactive cut and fill basics

Interactive cut and fill objects are used to determine the visible volumetric displacement required to level the ground of a location. They are calculated against the currently displayed ground surface.

The cut and fill location can be interactively moved through the view. You can create multiple cut and fill objects to explore multiple areas of concern.


If you change the ground surface that is used to create cut and fill objects, all existing cut and fill objects are cleared in preparation for the next set.

The analytical results displayed by these tools are temporary and are not saved with the project, nor are they included in map packages. However, their cut volume, fill volume, net volume, cut area, fill area, minimum z-value, and maximum z-value can be exported as polygon feature classes for further use.


The units of the analytical results are derived from the elevation units set for the map.

Create an interactive cut and fill

The interactive Cut and Fill tool Cut and Fill is in the Exploratory 3D Analysis gallery in the Workflow group on the Analysis tab. As you save templates with custom configurations, they are added to the gallery.

Creation methods


Interactive Rectangle Cut and Fill Interactive Rectangle

Click twice in the view to place a rectangular cut and fill.

Interactive Polygon Cut and Fill Interactive Polygon

Click in the view multiple times to outline the cut and fill polygon.

From Layer Cut and Fill From Layer

Create a cut and fill based on a polygon layer, where feature attributes can be bound to parameters such as cut and fill volumes and minimum and maximum z-values. Previously exported analysis objects can be revisited using this method.

Update an interactive cut and fill

To update an existing cut and fill object, click the centroid point with the Cut and Fill tool to select it. You can move the object in x- and y-space or drag the green arrow to move it in z-space. A corresponding edit overlay is an optional on-screen control for enabling the ability to move and rotate the object.

Cut and fill object selected for updating

Click All to select and edit all interactive cut and fill objects at once.

Delete an interactive cut and fill

You can remove a cut and fill object by selecting the object with the active Cut and Fill tool and clicking Delete Delete from the Properties tab. You can also delete a cut and fill object by clicking the Delete Plane button Delete Plane in the on-screen overlay, by pressing the Delete key or right-clicking and clicking Delete Delete from its context menu. You can delete all cut and fill objects at once, as well as any other existing exploratory analysis objects, by clicking Clear All Clear All in the Exploratory 3D Analysis drop-down list in the Workflows group on the Analysis tab.

Related topics