Selecting features identifies the features on which you want to perform certain editing operations. For example, before you move, delete, or copy a feature, you must select it. You must also select features before you can view their attributes in the Attributes window.
You can select geodatabase annotation features using the Edit Annotation tool. Only geodatabase annotation features are selectable with this tool.
While the Edit tool is only available during an edit session, it can select features from any selectable layer, regardless of whether you are currently editing it. The Edit tool works this way because there are various editing operations that can utilize any selected features in your map as inputs for the creation of new data in the layers you are editing—for example, copying a feature in one layer and pasting it in a layer you are editing. To avoid inadvertently selecting from the wrong layer if you have other layers that overlap with or are nearby the features you want to select for editing, make the layer not selectable on the table of contents.
When the Edit tool is active and you are editing the shape of a feature, the Edit tool pointer changes from a black arrow to a white arrow to show you can directly select vertices and modify segments. The black arrow pointer is shown when you are working with whole features rather than the individual vertices and segments that make up the feature.
When you select features while in an edit session, the small x located in the center of the selected features is the selection anchor. The selection anchor is used when rotating features, moving features, and scaling features. To move the selection anchor—for example, so the feature is rotated about a different pivot point—rest your pointer over the selection anchor and hold down the CTRL key.
Selecting features with the Edit tool compared with other selection tools
When you are editing, it is recommended that you make selections with the Edit tool rather than the selection tools on the Tools toolbar (Select By Rectangle, Select By Lasso, and so on). While the Edit tool and the other selection tools all select features and follow the currently selectable layers and selection options (such as selection color and tolerance), the Edit tool has additional functionality to help you during an edit session. The other selection tools do not provide any editing functionality. The following are some of the differences when using the Edit tool compared with the selection tools on the Tools toolbar:
- The Edit tool is only available during an edit session.
- The Edit tool has a specialized right-click shortcut menu containing common editing commands and also has editing-related keyboard shortcuts. Although the other selection tools can be used to select features in an edit session, their shortcut menus mostly contain commands related to map navigation.
- The Edit tool does not follow the interactive selection mode and always creates a new selection.
- The Edit tool only selects the topmost selectable feature, whereas the other selection tools select every selectable feature underneath where you clicked.
- The Edit tool has the selection chip, allowing you to refine the selection and choose the exact feature you want to select when features overlap. With the Edit tool, if you are trying to select one feature from a series of overlapping features, you can either use the selection chip or press the N key to cycle through the choices to select the next coincident feature.
- The Edit tool allows you to interact with and modify the vertices of a feature and access a feature's geometry. In addition, the Edit Vertices pop-up toolbar appears when you are editing a feature's shape, allowing you to select, edit, add, and delete vertices.
- The Edit tool allows you to move a feature once you have selected it. If you initially select a feature with another selection tool, you need to switch to the Edit tool if you want to move the feature. However, if you find yourself inadvertently moving features when you drag a box with the Edit tool, increase the Sticky Move Tolerance setting on the Editing Options dialog box.