Exercise 2d: Editing vertices and segments

Complexity: Intermediate Data Requirement: ArcGIS Tutorial Data Setup Data Path: \ArcGIS\ArcTutor\Editing

About editing vertices and segments

In the previous exercise, you edited whole features. In this exercise, you will be editing the vertices and segments that make up a feature. You can double-click a feature with the Edit tool to edit its shape. When you do this, the Edit tool pointer changes from a black arrow to a white arrow to show you can directly select vertices and modify segments.

The Edit Vertices toolbar provides quick access to some of the most commonly used commands when editing vertices. It appears on-screen whenever either the Edit tool or the Topology Edit tool is active and you are editing the vertices of a feature or topology edge. The toolbar floats the first time it appears but can be docked after that.


This exercise requires an active Internet connection since it uses imagery served from the Web. If you do not have an Internet connection or if the imagery is loading slowly, you can still perform the tutorial using an image that is installed with the tutorial data. You need to turn on the DOQQ imagery (local) layer in the table of contents, then you can turn off the World imagery (Web) layer.

Editing vertices and segments

You will drag the vertices and handles to edit the shape of a line that was poorly digitized on a trailhead that starts at a road and ends near a stream.

  1. Make sure you have stopped editing from the previous exercise.
  2. In the table of contents, click the List By Drawing Order button List By Drawing Order.
  3. Right-click the Editing features data frame name and click Activate to make this the active data frame.
  4. Click the Editor menu on the Editor toolbar and click Start Editing.
  5. Close the Create Features window. You will not need it in this exercise.
  6. Navigate to the Trail bookmark.
  7. Click the Edit tool Edit Tool on the Editor toolbar.
  8. Select the trail line (the dashed line) that connects to the road and click the Edit Vertices button Edit Vertices on the Editor toolbar. When you are viewing the sketch geometry of a feature, the Edit Vertices toolbar appears, giving you quick access to commands used when editing a feature's vertices and segments.
    Vertices and segments of the trail line to be edited
  9. When compared to the aerial photograph, notice that this line is straight when it should be curved, and it also has some extra vertices. You can easily change a straight segment into a circular arc or Bézier curve, and vice versa, and delete the extra vertices. A Bézier curve is smooth and has on each of its two endpoints handles that can be moved to change the direction and the steepness of the curve. You can create Bézier curves by digitizing them using the Bézier Curve sketch construction method or by using certain editing commands, such as Smooth on the Advanced Editing toolbar.
  10. Move your pointer over the middle of the segment closest to the road and notice that the pointer changes to indicate you are working with a segment. Right-click, point to Change Segment, then click Circular Arc.
  11. The segment changes to an arc. Click the arc, drag it, and drop it over the trail on the aerial photograph. You can hold down the SPACEBAR key to turn off snapping temporarily if you are having difficulty placing the curve where you want it.
    Dragging the curve segment
  12. Click the map away from the feature to update its shape, then double-click the feature, which accomplishes the same thing as using Edit Vertices.
  13. Click the Delete Vertex tool Delete Vertex Tool on the Edit Vertices toolbar. The Delete Vertex tool looks like the white Edit tool with a minus sign (-) next to it.
  14. Drag a box around the three vertices that form a zigzag shape between the previous segment and the horizontal segment. This deletes those vertices, as they are in the incorrect locations and are not needed to maintain the shape of the line in this area.
    Deleting multiple vertices at once
  15. Click the Modify Sketch Vertices tool Modify Sketch Vertices Tool (the white Edit tool) on the Edit Vertices toolbar. This allows you to continue working with the segments and vertices.
  16. Right-click the northernmost segment, point to Change Segment, then click Bézier.

    A new set of Bézier curve handles is added, and the segment changes into an S-shaped curve. You can see the locations of the vertices and handles, which are displayed in blue. Rest your pointer over a green vertex, then rest it over a blue handle. You get different pointer icons depending on the type of point you are over.

  17. Drag the handles to reshape the curve to match the aerial photograph.
    Editing the Bézier curve
  18. Click the map to update the changes you made to the shape. If you need to refine the line's shape further, double-click it again with the Edit tool and modify the segments. If you want to insert or delete a vertex, use the tools on the Edit Vertices toolbar.
    Edited trail line
  19. Click the Editor menu on the Editor toolbar and click Save Edits.
  20. Click the Editor menu on the Editor toolbar and click Stop Editing.
  21. Close ArcMap if you are done working with the tutorial. You do not need to save the map document.
  22. To continue to the next exercise, click Exercise 3a: Converting labels to annotation.

You changed segments into different types and edited vertices.