Introduction to the Editing tutorial

Complexity: Beginner Data Requirement: ArcGIS Tutorial Data for Desktop Data Path: \ArcGIS\ArcTutor\Editing

The easiest way to learn how to edit in ArcMap is to complete the exercises in this tutorial. Most of these exercises can be completed with an ArcGIS for Desktop Basic license—the exception is the geodatabase topology exercise, which requires an ArcGIS for Desktop Standard or ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced license.

The first portion of the tutorial (Exercises 1–3) uses data from Utah's Zion National Park, which contains such geologic wonders as red and tan sandstone rocks, steep cliffs, and multitudes of canyons. You will use the editing environment in ArcMap to create and modify spatial features to represent various natural and human-made phenomena in the park. After completing these exercises, you are able to create different types of new features, including points, lines, polygons, and text; assign attribute values; edit shapes; and build and use feature templates. You will also become familiar with many of the tools and parts of the user interface available to you when editing.

The remaining exercises (Exercises 4–5) show you how to edit data. You will learn how to maintain spatial integrity through topology and how to integrate new data with existing datasets using spatial adjustment.

You should complete the tutorial in sequence, since the software methods build on those introduced in earlier exercises and assume you understand those concepts. For exercises 1–3, you should complete the all subparts (such as a, b, c, and d) at the same time, then only stop after completing a whole exercise. For exercises 4–5, you can restart the tutorial again on either the next exercise or subpart without any difficulty since the maps and data are independent in these exercises.

Overview of the tutorial exercises

The tutorial is divided into a series of exercises and subparts:


The tutorial assumes that you are using the default settings for the editing environment. If you have customized your options, you may need to reset them to match the steps in the tutorial. For example, by default, angular measurements are entered in degrees using the polar system, which is the format of the values provided in the tutorial. You can change the settings for the editing environment on the Editing Options dialog box, which is opened by clicking the Editor menu on the Editor toolbar and clicking Options.

Data credits

Zion National Park datasets are courtesy of the National Park Service and the United States Geological Survey.

Map topology datasets are courtesy of the United States Geological Survey.

The world imagery is a web-based layer being served from