About creating new features
Last modified August 17, 2007
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To create a new feature in ArcMap, you create an edit sketch. A sketch is composed of vertices (the positions that define the shape of a line or polygon feature) and segments (the lines that connect the vertices). You create a sketch using the sketch construction tools located on the Editor toolbar tool palette.
Explore the tools on the tool palette
You can use a sketch to complete various tasks; these are listed in the Current Task drop-down list shown below.
To create a new feature, click Create New Feature from the drop-down list. When the current task setting is Create New Feature, what you digitize becomes a new feature in your target layer.
Other tasks you can complete with a sketch and a task include modifying, extending, trimming, and reshaping features.
The type of feature you create is determined by the setting of the Target layer drop-down list. This list contains the names of all the layers in the workspace (the geodatabase or folder of shapefiles) with which you're working, as well as any subtypes. For instance, if you set the target layer to Buildings: Commercial, any features you create will be part of the Commercial subtype of the Buildings layer.
The Sketch tool is the main tool you use to create a sketch. To create point features, click once on the map. To create line or polygon features, use the Sketch tool to digitize the vertices that make up that feature. To create the last vertex and finish the sketch, double-click the mouse. After you finish the sketch, ArcMap adds the final segment of the sketch, and the sketch turns into a feature. There are several other tools you can use to create a sketch. The Sketch tool and the other tools are found on the Editor toolbar tool palette.
Click here to see the tools and examples of how they might be used to create features.
When using the Sketch tool, you can access the Sketch tool context menu by right-clicking away from the sketch you're creating. The menu has options for placing the vertices and segments specifically where you want them. For example, you can set a segment to be a certain length or angle or create a vertex at a specific x,y coordinate location.
Click here to see the Sketch tool's context menu, and learn how you can enhance your productivity while editing.
You can use any combination of the following methods for creating points, vertices, or segments to create a new line or polygon feature:
ArcMap has another context menu—the Sketch context menu—that works more directly with the sketch as a whole. With this menu, you can: