Setting the Edit and Snapping Environments in ArcGIS 10 to the Classic (9.x) Format

There are several differences between the ArcGIS 9.x environment and editing in version 10. These changes include a new ‘Create Features’ window, a redesigned editor toolbar, a new snapping interface, new edit sketch properties and attribute windows, new geodatabase topology rules, an editing geoprocessing toolbox, and new parcel editing functionality. This blog post provides an overview of the new Editing and Snapping interfaces and explains how to revert to the ‘Classic’ 9.x interfaces.

Editing Toolbar

In ArcGIS 10, the new editing environment allows the use of feature templates and includes a new ‘Create Features’ window that appears on the right-hand side of the ArcMap window. This window provides a streamlined editing experience and allows users to interactively define the types of features to be created. There are some situations where features will not be added to the ‘Create Features’ window. Layers that are not visible in the table of contents, that are beyond the visible scale range, or that do not satisfy a definition query will not show up in this window. This is further explained in the Best Practices for Using Feature Templates section of ArcGIS Desktop 10 Web Help.

As with any new functionality, this new way of editing may take some getting used to. The good news is that there is a way to revert to the editing environment used in previous versions of ArcGIS. The following is a brief overview on how to switch the editing and snapping features in ArcGIS 10 to the ‘Classic’ version 9.x format.

For editing:

  1. Close ArcMap and ArcCatalog. Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the ArcGIS folder, which is located at ‘C:Program FilesArcGIS’ or ‘C:Program Files (x86)ArcGIS’ (on 64-bit machines).

  2. In the ArcGIS folder, go to Desktop 10.0UtilitiesAdvancedArcMapSettings.exe. Double-click on AdvancedArcMapSettings.exe.

  3. In the AdvancedArcMapSettings window, go to the Editor tab and uncheck ‘Create features using templates’ as indicated below.

  4. Figure 1: Advanced ArcMap Settings Editor Tab

  5. Click ‘Apply’ and the close the window.

  6. Start ArcMap 10. The editor toolbar now appears in the ArcMap 9.x format.

See figure 2 and 3 below for a comparison between the editing environment in ArcGIS 10 and 9.x.

Figure 2: ArcGIS 10 Editor Toolbar

Figure 3: “Classic” Editor Toolbar

Snapping Interface

In ArcGIS 10, the snapping interface has changed significantly. The new ‘Snapping’ toolbar in ArcGIS 10 can be turned on or off for certain types of features including points, endpoints, vertices, and edges. At certain times, it may be beneficial to revert to the ‘Classic’ Snapping Environment from previous versions of ArcGIS, so that snapping can be turned on and off for individual layers.

Figure 4: ArcGIS 10 Snapping Toolbar

To Revert to the ‘Classic’ Snapping Environment:

  1. In ArcMap, start an editing session.

  2. In the Editor Toolbar, click ‘Options’ in the editor menu.

  3. Under the General tab, check ‘Use classic snapping’ as indicated below.

  4. Figure 5: ArcGIS 10 Editing Options

  5. Click ‘Apply’ and ‘OK’.

  6. Point to ‘Snapping’ in the Editor menu and click ‘Snapping Window’. The ‘Snapping Window’, entitled ‘Snapping Environment’, appears on the right-hand side of the ArcMap window.

  7. In the ‘Snapping Window’, click the vertex, edge, and end boxes for the layers you want to snap.

  8. Check the boxes located at the bottom of the ‘Snapping Environment’ window to enable snapping to either ‘Edit Sketch’ or ‘Topology Elements’.

  9. Once the layers you wish to snap are selected in the ‘Snapping Environment’ window, it can be closed or kept open while working. Any settings that have been changed are saved automatically.

Please leave any comments in the comment section below this blog post. NOTE: You must be logged in to your Esri Global Account to leave comments.

David C. and Jake P., ArcGIS Desktop Support Analysts – Esri Support Services, Charlotte, NC

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  1. jblairpdx says:

    In my use of 10.0, I’ve noticed that using the classic snapping does not persist between sessions. Sure, the settings within classic snapping are preserved, but you still have to enable it every time. Am I missing a way to persist classic snapping between when I close ArcMap, and when I re-open it later?

  2. JPetrosky says:

    The setting is stored on a map document by map document basis, meaning if you set the snapping environment in a map document, close ArcMap and then reopen the same map document, the Classic Snapping environment should be maintained. Unfortunately, I do not think there is a Registry setting to set this as the default for every map.

  3. gushue says:

    I wonder if having the ability to button toggle the classic snapping and classic editor toolbar would not be a better fix. In the effort of better efficiency closing programs or navigating to a buried options menu does not seem to be the way forward. Is ESRI looking into providing a better way to move between classic and ArcGIS 10 editor modes?

  4. JPetrosky says:

    I agree that having the ability to toggle between the classic snapping and classic editing toolbar would be beneficial. This could be submitted as an idea at

  5. infobleep says:

    It’s not possible to revert to the previous editor, as in the one used in 9.3.1, because some of the functions in that do not work in ArcGIS 10.

    For example whilst creating a new feature in version 9.3.1, it was possible to move vertices. Even using the classic editor in version 10 it is not possible to move vertices when creating a new feature.

    The properties window of the classic editor is the same as the new editor and thus you cannot home in on a select vertex(ices) within the list when one or more is selected. This was possible in 9.3.1.

  6. ridemgis says:

    Bottom line here is that for every ESRI “improvement” those of us who already know what we’re doing have to start over.

  7. aaronrhodes says:

    Folloing up on jblairpdx comments, I have not been able to get the classic snapping setting to persist between the SAME map document after it has been saved in 10.0; I still need to drill down in the Editor/Options menu to re-enable it. Is there a solution for this that anyone is aware of? Thanks.

  8. programmer says:

    Is there a way to turn off the ‘Create features using templates’ and ‘Use Classic Snapping’ turn on programatically using c#

  9. jonaslya2 says:

    This new editing and snapping tools is awesome,thanks