Apply Relative Mainline Layout (Network Diagram)


Arranges the network diagram features in the active diagram along parallel straight lines.

Learn more about the Relative Mainline layout algorithm


If you have an open edit session, you must save your edits prior to running this tool. This ensures that the diagram reflects the latest changes made to the network topology in the database. If you fail to save your edits, the edits will not be reflected in the diagram.


Each layout algorithm includes default parameter values. The default parameter values will be used unless otherwise specified. If the input network diagram is based on a template for which this layout has been configured with a different parameter value, that value is used instead.


  • This tool is not supported when working with a database connection to a utility network in an enterprise geodatabase. You must use either the related published utility network service or a utility network or trace network in a file geodatabase.

  • The input network diagram layer must be from either a utility network or trace network in a file geodatabase or a network diagram service.

  • This layout arranges the network diagram features in the active diagram along parallel straight lines, with all the connected edges having the same attribute value. It also places the branches from those lines, preserving their directions regarding the straight lines and the distances proportional to the initial distance and relative to each other.

  • This algorithm requires network attributes with specific values on the network line classes to identify the edges that compose each straight line and classify each edge so it is prioritized or excluded during the process.

  • This layout can apply to any data referencing lines that are parallel, even if it has not been designed for rail tracks.

  • Root flags can be set to specify the points of the junctions where the straight lines will start. If no root is set, the algorithm first searches for junctions that are connected to a single edge that can be considered the starting point of a straight line. From these junction candidates, the root junction will be the one that begins the longest straight line.

  • Consider applying the layout in asynchronous mode on the server when working on very large diagrams.


ApplyRelativeMainlineLayout(in_network_diagram_layer, line_attribute, {mainline_direction}, {offset_between_branches}, {breakpoint_angle}, {type_attribute}, {mainline_values}, {branch_values}, {excluded_values}, {is_compressing}, {compression_ratio}, {minimal_distance}, {alignment_attribute}, {initial_distances}, {length_attribute}, {run_async})
ParameterExplanationData Type

The network diagram to which the layout will be applied.

Diagram Layer

The name of the network attribute that will be used to identify the lines that comprise the straight lines. This network attribute must exist in the network line classes. Its values must be the same for all the edges that comprise a straight line, for example, Line 1, Line 2, and so on.


Specifies the direction of the main line.

  • FROM_LEFT_TO_RIGHTThe main line will be drawn as a horizontal line starting from the left and ending on the right. This is the default.
  • FROM_TOP_TO_BOTTOMThe main line will be drawn as a vertical line starting from the top and ending at the bottom.

The spacing between two adjacent branches along the axis perpendicular to the direction of the lines.

Linear Unit

The angle that will be used to position the break point on the branches. It is a value between 30 and 90 degrees that is combined with the offset_between_branches parameter value to compute this position. When the break point angle value is 90 degrees, each branch displays orthogonally.


The name of the network attribute that will be used to qualify the lines. This network attribute may exist in the network line classes.


The type_attribute and line_attribute parameter values can be the same.


The type_attribute values that identify the main lines. When such values exist, they must be the same for any edge that comprises the main lines, regardless of their related network feature line classes or edge object tables.

Value Table

The type_attribute values that identify the branches.

Value Table

The type_attribute values that identify the edges that will be excluded from the straight lines (crossovers or ladders).

Value Table

Specifies whether the graph will be compressed.

  • USE_COMPRESSIONCompression will be used. An additional step is executed at the end of the process to reduce the distances between adjacent groups of neighbor junctions along the direction while maintaining relative positioning between these groups. Neighbor junctions are junctions that are geographically close to each other without being directly connected.
  • DO_NOT_USE_COMPRESSIONCompression will not be used. This is the default.

A value between 0 and 100 that is applied to the length of any edge after subtracting the minimal distance of its length. When compression_ratio is 100, the distance between each detected junction group is equal to the minimal distance.


The minimal distance between two adjacent groups of neighbor junctions. This minimal distance is also used to group neighbor junctions based on their projection along the direction axis. Two junctions projected on this axis will belong to the same group when the distance between the two projected points is less than this distance.

Linear Unit

The name of the network attribute that will be used to align lines that are split. The algorithm aligns lines with the same attribute value.


Specifies how the length of the diagram edges will be assessed. This length determines the positions of the junctions along the direction. The distances between the connected junctions along the direction are not equidistant; they are relative to each other and depend on the current edge length and the length of the shortest edge.

  • FROM_CURRENT_EDGE_GEOMETRY The distances will be computed from the current edge geometry. This is the default.
  • FROM_ATTRIBUTE_EDGEThe distances will be computed from a given attribute that exists on an edge.

The network attribute from which the distances will be computed when initial_distances is FROM_ATTRIBUTE_EDGE.


Specifies whether the layout algorithm will run asynchronously or synchronously on the server.

  • RUN_ASYNCHRONOUSLYThe layout algorithm will run asynchronously on the server. This option dedicates server resources to run the layout algorithm with a longer time-out. Running asynchronously is recommended when executing layouts that are time consuming and may exceed the server time-out—for example, Partial Overlapping Edges—and applying to large diagrams—more than 25,000 features.
  • RUN_SYNCHRONOUSLYThe layout algorithm will run synchronously on the server. It can fail without completion if its execution exceeds the service time-out: 600 seconds by default. This is the default.

Derived Output

NameExplanationData Type

The updated network diagram.

Diagram Layer

Code sample

ApplyRelativeMainlineLayout example (Python window)

Apply the Relative Mainline Layout to the diagram called Temporary Diagram.

import arcpy
arcpy.ApplyRelativeMainlineLayout_nd("Temporary Diagram", "LineTrack", 
                                  "FROM_LEFT_RIGHT", 2, 45, "RUN_SYNCHRONOUSLY")


This tool does not use any geoprocessing environments.

Licensing information

  • Basic: No
  • Standard: Yes
  • Advanced: Yes

Related topics