Editing Drawings

Drawings can be edited interactively, using mouse moves to do things like reshape areas, or using the Transform panel to edit many features at once, for example, such as converting area objects into lines.  this topic describes interactive editing using mouse moves and keyboard.

Interactive Editing

We use a combination of mouse actions in windows together with the Contents pane Record panel to provide rapid and efficient editing of drawings, either in a drawing window or as a drawing layer in a map window.   The combination allows us to modify existing features in drawings or to create new features.    When we modify or create we can alter or specify the field values, that is, the attributes of objects, or we can alter or specify the geometry of those objects, that is, the coordinates of the vertices that define them, or we can do both.

 

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Important:  Index Required - A drawing's table must have a key field and index on that field for the drawing to be editable.  When Manifold creates or imports drawings it automatically adds the necessary key field and index, so we do not normally need to think about this.  However, if programs or people have manually deleted the necessary index, we will not be able to edit the drawing. To add an index to a table that does not have an index, see the Add an Index to a Table topic.

Create New Features

We edit drawings to create new areas, lines and points by using the Create Area, Create Line and Create Point toolbar buttons.  Below, we create a new area.    

 

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Modify Existing Features

We also edit drawings to modify existing areas, lines and points, either by modifying their shapes, that is, modifying their geometry, or by modifying the data values associated with an object, that is, editing the attributes of the object.   Shift-Alt-Click an object to begin modifying it.

 

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Change Attributes and Geometry

At any time, we may edit the field values, or attributes, of the object in the associated record in the drawing's table.  We can do that for existing objects or we can do that on the fly when creating new objects.   Alt-click an object to pop open the Record - Values tab that enables us to edit field values for that object.

 

il_modify_field_values01_01.png il_modify_field_values01_02.png il_modify_field_values01_03.png

 

...and we may edit the coordinate geometry of the object, that is, the locations of the coordinates, or vertices, that define the shape and placement of the object.   Shift-Alt-click an object to pop open the Record - Coordinates tab that enables us to edit field values for that object.  Below we select two vertices in the Coordinates list and then we press Delete to delete them.

 

il_modify_coordinates01_01.png il_modify_coordinates01_02.png il_modify_coordinates01_03.png

 

See the Contents - Record topic for detailed instructions on editing objects.

Creating New Points, Lines and Areas in a Drawing

To add points, lines, or areas to a drawing we Begin by opening the drawing in a drawing window or as a layer in a map.    We then choose a Create Area, Create Line or Create Point toolbar buttons and click away to create the object we want.  When finished we right-click and choose Save Changes.

Switch into Create Mode

The default mouse cursor mode is navigation.   

 

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The drop-down menu on the mode button lets us choose a different mode.

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If we choose Create Point the mouse cursor user interface switches from Navigation mode into Create Point mode.

 

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The mode button always shows what mode applies for that window.   Hovering the mouse over the mode button will show a tooltip.

 

Different windows can have different modes, with one window being in Create Line mode while another window stays in Navigation mode.  As we switch between windows the mode button will automatically switch to show the mode for that window.

 

Snapping

btn_snap_cursor.png  When creating new objects, Manifold will snap the mouse cursor to nearby vertices of existing objects.   We can toggle snapping off and on by pressing the spacebar.   Snap mode is indicated with a blue box cursor that snaps to a nearby vertex.

Points

il_create_point_command.png  il_create_point_drawing.png  dlg_save_changes_rtclick.png

 

To add new points to a drawing:

 

  1. Click onto the cursor mode button and choose Create Point.  The button will show Create Point mode.

  2. Click on locations in the drawing where a point is to be created.  Manifold will draw a blue preview square at each location. With the first click the Record panel Coordinates tab will pop open in the Contents pane.

  3. When all desired points have been clicked, right-click anywhere in the drawing and choose Save Changes from the pop-up menu to commit changes, or press Ctrl-Enter or press the Add Record button in the Coordinates tab.  To abandon changes, press Esc or Ctrl-backspace. or after right-clicking choose Undo Changes from the pop-up menu.

 

To create a multipoint, either press Shift-Ctrl-Enter or press the Shift key when clicking on the Save Changes context menu choice.   See the Notes below on multipoints.

Lines

il_create_line_command.png  il_create_line_drawing.png  dlg_save_changes_rtclick.png

 

To add a new line to a drawing:

 

  1. Click onto the cursor mode button and choose Create Line.  The button will show Create Line mode.

  2. Click on a location in the drawing to start the line and then click on subsequent locations to indicate where each next coordinate defining the line is to be placed. Manifold will draw a blue preview square at each coordinate with a blue preview line between clicked locations and also extending from the last clicked location to the current cursor position.  With the first click the Record panel Coordinates tab will pop open in the Contents pane.

  3. After clicking the last coordinate for the line, right-click anywhere in the drawing and choose Save Changes from the pop-up menu to commit changes, or press Ctrl-Enter or press the Add Record button in the Coordinates tab.  To abandon changes, press Esc or Ctrl-backspace.

 

 

To add a new, branched line to a drawing:

 

  1. Click onto the cursor mode button and choose Create Line.  The button will show Create Line mode.

  2. Click on a location in the drawing to start the first branch of the line and then click on subsequent locations to indicate where each next coordinate defining that branch is to be placed. Manifold will draw a blue preview square at each coordinate with a blue preview line between clicked locations and also extending from the last clicked location to the current cursor position. With the first click the Record panel Coordinates tab will pop open in the Contents pane.

  3. For the last coordinate of the branch, shift-click to add that last coordinate.

  4. With the next click a new branch will be started at the clicked location.   Click on subsequent locations to indicate where each next coordinate for that branch should be placed.

  5. After clicking the last coordinate for the last branch, right-click anywhere in the drawing and choose Save Changes from the pop-up menu to commit changes, or press Ctrl-Enter or press the Add Record button in the Coordinates tab.  To abandon changes, press Esc or Ctrl-backspace.

Areas

il_create_area_command.png  il_create_area_drawing.pngdlg_save_changes_rtclick.png

 

To add a new area to a drawing:

 

  1. Click onto the cursor mode button and choose Create Area.  The button will show Create Area mode.

  2. Click on a location in the drawing to start the area and then click on subsequent locations to indicate where each next coordinate defining the area is to be placed. Manifold will draw a blue preview square at each coordinate with a blue preview line between clicked locations and also extending from the first location to the current cursor position. With the first click the Record panel Coordinates tab will pop open in the Contents pane.

  3. After clicking the last coordinate for the area, right-click anywhere in the drawing and choose Save Changes from the pop-up menu to commit changes, or press Ctrl-Enter or press the Add Record button in the Coordinates tab.  To abandon changes, press Esc or Ctrl-backspace.

 
 
To add a new, branched area to a drawing:

 

  1. Click onto the cursor mode button and choose Create Area.  The button will show Create Area mode.

  2. Click on a location in the drawing to start the first branch of the area and then click on subsequent locations to indicate where each next coordinate defining that branch is to be placed. Manifold will draw a blue preview square at each coordinate with a blue preview line between clicked locations and also extending from the first clicked location of the branch to the current cursor position.  With the first click the Record panel Coordinates tab will pop open in the Contents pane.

  3. For the last coordinate of the branch, shift-click to add that last coordinate.

  4. With the next click a new branch will be started at the clicked location.

  5. Starting a new branch within an area begins creating a hole in that area.  Starting a new branch outside of an area begins creating an island.

  6. Click on subsequent locations to indicate where each next coordinate for that branch should be placed.

  7. After clicking the last coordinate for the last branch, right-click anywhere in the drawing and choose Save Changes from the pop-up menu to commit changes, or press Ctrl-Enter or press the Add Record button in the Coordinates tab.  To abandon changes, press Esc or Ctrl-backspace.

 

The Tracker tool uses similar commands and mouse moves to draw tracker lines that allow us to measure distances and bearings.

 

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After creating areas, lines, or points, we should switch the mouse cursor mode back to default navigation mode.

 

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For example, if we have been using Create Line mode we should use the drop-down menu to switch back to Default when we are done creating lines.   There is no harm done if we forget, since immediately any cursor clicks in the active window will begin to create whatever object had been previously created.  We can press Esc at any time to abandon the edits, and no object will be created if we do not choose Save Changes or otherwise confirm the edit.

 

Editing Existing Points, Lines and Areas in a Drawing

To edit an existing object, Shift-Alt-click on that object.   The Record panel immediately pops open in the Contents pane to display the Coordinates tab, with the object's vertices enabled for editing.     See the Example: Change the Shape of Areas topic for step-by-step illustrated examples of the following procedures.

 

A vertex is one of the coordinates that defines an object.   Many GIS packages use the term vertex instead of coordinate.  Manifold uses both words as synonyms.

 

To move a vertex in an object:

 

  1. Shift-Alt-click on the object.   Blue boxes appear at the vertices that define the object, and the Contents pane automatically switches to the Record panel's Coordinates tab.  The active vertex is indicated by a larger box.

  2. Click on the vertex to be moved and then drag it to whatever position is required.

  3. The new location will be previewed both in the drawing and in the Coordinates tab table in blue preview color Press Ctrl-Enter or the Update Record button for the change to take effect.  Press Ctrl-Back or Esc to abandon the edit.  

 

To save changes or to undo changes we can also Right-click into the drawing and choose Save Changes or Undo Changes.

 

To move multiple vertices together:

 

  1. Shift-Alt-click on the object.   Blue boxes appear at the vertices that define the object, and the Contents pane automatically switches to the Record panel's Coordinates tab.  The active vertex is indicated by a larger box.

  2. Click on first vertex in the set to be moved. The row handle for that vertex in the Coordinates tab list will darken to show it is chosen.

  3. Ctrl-click on that row to select it.  The vertex's box will darken as well.  

  4. Ctrl-click on the rows for other vertices to be selected.  Their boxes will darken as well, with the bigger, darkened box moving in turn to the whichever vertex we have just ctrl-clicked.

  5. Drag and move the bigger darkened vertex to the desired position.   All other selected vertices will move along with that box.

  6. The system will preview the result using blue preview color Press Ctrl-Enter or the Update Record button for the change to take effect.  Press Ctrl-Back or Esc to abandon the edit.  

 

To save changes or to undo changes we can also Right-click into the drawing and choose Save Changes or Undo Changes.

 

To move an entire object:

 

  1. Shift-Alt-click on the object.   Blue boxes appear at the vertices that define the object, and the Contents pane automatically switches to the Record panel's Coordinates tab.  The active vertex is indicated by a larger box.

  2. Ctrl-A to select all rows in the Coordinates tab list.   That selects all vertices.  One of them will be marked with a larger box.  

  3. Drag and move the bigger darkened vertex to the desired position.   All other selected vertices, that is, the entire object, will move along with that box.

  4. The system will preview the result using blue preview color Press Ctrl-Enter or the Update Record button for the change to take effect.  Press Ctrl-Back or Esc to abandon the edit.  

 

To save changes or to undo changes we can also Right-click into the drawing and choose Save Changes or Undo Changes.

 

To delete a vertex from an object:

 

  1. Shift-Alt-click on the object.   Blue boxes appear at the vertices that define the object, and the Contents pane automatically switches to the Record panel's Coordinates tab.  The active vertex is indicated by a larger box.

  2. Click on the vertex to be deleted.  The row handle for that vertex in the Coordinates tab list will darken to show it is chosen.

  3. Ctrl-click on that row to select it.  The vertex's box will darken as well.    Press the Delete button in the Coordinate tab's toolbar to delete the vertex.

  4. The system will preview the result using blue preview color Press Ctrl-Enter or the Update Record button for the change to take effect.  Press Ctrl-Back or Esc to abandon the edit.  

 

To save changes or to undo changes we can also Right-click into the drawing and choose Save Changes or Undo Changes.

 

To add a vertex to an object:

 

  1. Shift-Alt-click on the object.   Blue boxes appear at the vertices that define the object, and the Contents pane automatically switches to the Record panel's Coordinates tab.  The active vertex is indicated by a larger box.

  2. Click on the vertex next to where the new vertex is to be added.

  3. Press the Insert key on the keyboard.  The mouse now goes into drawing mode to insert a vertex.

  4. Click where the new vertex is to appear.  Click again to create additional vertices.

  5. The system will preview the result using blue preview color Press Ctrl-Enter or the Update Record button for the change to take effect.  Press Ctrl-Back or Esc to abandon the edit.  

 

To save changes or to undo changes we can also Right-click into the drawing and choose Save Changes or Undo Changes.

 

See the Contents - Record topic for additional info.

Editing Attributes

Alt-click an object to edit that object's attributes.  Small blue boxes appear at the vertices that define the object, and the Contents pane automatically switches to the Record panel's Values tab.  

 

The Values tab shows attributes for the designated object.   Attributes which cannot be edited, such as geom data type values or key fields such as mfd_id used for the primary index, will be shown with gray background color.  Attributes which may be edited are shown with white background color.  Editing an attribute value is just like editing a cell in a table.  

 

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To edit an attribute, Double-click into the value cell and enter the value desired.   Press Enter to stop editing.  Just as with editing a cell in a table, the edited cell will be shown in blue preview color.   To commit the edit, press Ctrl-Enter or click the Update Record button.  To abandon the edit, press Ctrl-backspace.

 

il_modify_field_values01_04.pngil_modify_field_values01_05.pngil_modify_field_values01_06.png

 

We can also right-click onto a cell, choose Copy and then right-click onto a destination cell and choose Paste to paste the copied value into the destination cell.   To commit the edit, press Ctrl-Enter or click the Update Record button.  To abandon the edit, press Ctrl-backspace.    The Edit choice allows us to view and to edit longer text in a larger dialog that is more suitable for multi-paragraph text than the space available in a single cell.   See the Example: Edit Attributes, Larger Text, IME for Asian Languages  topic for an example using Edit.

Editing Object Geometry

Shift-Alt-click an object to edit geometry.   Blue boxes appear at the vertices that define the object, and the Contents pane automatically switches to the Record panel's Coordinates tab.  The active vertex is indicated by a larger box.     If we have already alt-clicked an object to edit attributes, we can shift into editing the object's geometry by clicking the Coordinates tab in the Record panel.  

 

See the Contents - Record topic for detailed instructions on editing object geometry.

 

For live action examples, see the Manifold Future - Future Tour Part 3 Editing video and the Manifold Future - Future Tour Part 4 Edit Attributes, Move a Point  video on YouTube.   See also examples in the Contents - Record topic and in the Example: Edit Coordinates While Creating an Object topic and the Example: Edit Attributes and Move a Point   topic.

 

Objects are Defined by Straight or Curved Segments

When a drawing displays objects such as areas, lines or points, each object is drawn based on the set of coordinate locations, called coordinates for short,  that defines it.   Note that in this short-hand nomenclature a "coordinate" is really a short hand way of saying a "coordinate pair," that is, two coordinates that consist of an X coordinate number and a Y coordinate number.   A synonym for such a coordinate location that defines an object is the word vertex.  

 

A single point is defined by a single coordinate.  Lines and areas are more complex than points because they involve lists of coordinates.   Lines and areas consist of a sequence of coordinates that define them, with either straight segments between coordinates or curved segments between coordinates or a mix of straight and curved segments.   Curved segments can be circular arcs, ellipsoidal arcs or splines that specify a path between coordinates that anchor the beginning and end of the curve, a curved path that is mathematically computed on the fly based upon the positions of the beginning and end coordinates plus any intermediate coordinates that define the curve.  

 

Most GIS systems (including all pre-Radian GIS products form Manifold) use only straight segments between coordinates to draw lines and areas.   In such systems a line that may appear to be a smooth curve when the view is zoomed out will be seen when the view is zoomed in to be made up of a sequence of straight line segments, each segment being defined by the coordinates at each end of that segment.  

 

Likewise, an area object will be defined by a set of coordinates that when linked by straight segments define the boundary of the area object as well as any internal "holes" or external "islands."   When the view is zoomed out such areas might look to be smoothly curved shapes, but upon closer inspection will be seen to be made up of straight segments that define their boundaries.

 

A more complex way of defining objects in vector-based drawings is to use curved segments between coordinates, the precise shapes of the curved segments being defined by mathematical formulae based on a limited number of coordinate locations.   For example, a circular arc can be defined by three coordinates: two coordinates to define the beginning and end of the arc plus a third coordinate through which the circular arc must pass.  Given three such coordinates a simple mathematical relationship defines at any desired level of resolution the shape of a circular arc which passes through those three locations.

 

il_curved_segments_line.png

 

Manifold allows use of three types of curved segments:  circular arcs (referred to as circle arcs),  ellipsoidal arcs (referred to as ellipse arcs) and splines.   All three types of curved segments are defined by beginning and end coordinates plus intermediate coordinates from which the shape of the curved segment is mathematically derived.   The illustration above shows a single line that contains both curved segments and straight segments.  It consists of a circle arc segment followed by four straight segments followed by a spline.  The small dots are not points but are control points for defining the circle arc and the spline that can be edited to adjust the shape of the line.

 

For additional discussion on points, lines and areas, including on branched objects such as branched points, branched lines and branched areas, as well as on multipoints, see the Drawings topic.

 

Notes

What is a multipoint?  - A really bad idea for most people in most uses.  A multipoint is a single point object that has multiple coordinates, giving the appearance of multiple points.  The result is what appears to be many points but which are all one object in one record.  A multipoint can even have multiple branches, each of which has multiple coordinates.   Given that virtually everyone expects what visually seems to be a separate point to be, indeed, a separate point with its own record in a table, the use of multipoints is a sure-fire way to confuse people.  For that reason, even if it seems to make sense to use a multipoint, friends don't let friends use multipoints, and the user interface deliberately makes it difficult to create a multipoint by accident.

 

Deletions are Confirmed - Deleting objects in a drawing window or in a drawing layer in a map window displays a confirmation dialog. The default button in the confirmation dialog is set to Cancel.  If we do not want to see the confirmation dialog, we can check the Never show this again box.  That will remove the confirmation dialog for deleting frames in layouts, for deleting objects in drawing layers, for deleting labels, and for deleting records in tables.    Another way to eliminate the confirmation dialog is to uncheck the Confirm deleting records box in the Tools - Options dialog.  Objects in a drawing are records in the drawing's table, hence the "records" terminology.

See Also

Getting Started

 

User Interface Basics

 

Drawings

 

Tracker: Measurements

 

Copy and Paste between Drawings

 

Contents - Layers

 

Contents - Record

 

Example: Draw Lines, Areas and Points - Simple example of using basic mouse moves to add points, lines and areas to a drawing.

 

Example: Drawings use Geom Fields in Tables  - An essential discussion on how drawings are created from geom fields in tables, including how the drawing knows which coordinate system to use.

 

Example: Repair a Wrong Edit using a Backup - How to quickly make a backup table and to then copy and paste geometry from that table to repair errors made when editing objects.  This technique is a life-saver when edits go astray.

 

Example: Trace an Area in a Map over an Image Background - In a map with a drawing layer above an image layer, create an area object in the drawing by tracing over the outlines of something seen in the image layer below.

 

Example: Edit Coordinates While Creating an Object - When creating an object in a map using a tool such as Create Area, right in the middle of the process we can edit coordinates in the Contents - Record panel's Coordinates tab.   This example shows the step by step process.

 

Example: Edit Attributes and Move a Point - We look at the attributes for a point in a drawing layer and edit one of the attributes using a more expanded Edit dialog.  We then move the point to a new location. Easy!

 

Example: Edit Attributes, Larger Text, IME for Asian Languages - A tour showing how to edit attributes in a drawing using the Record panel Values tab and the expanded Edit dialog, including advanced Unicode facilities and use of the built in Input Method Editor (IME) to input text in Japanese language.

 

Example: Create a Multipoint - This topic provides two examples:  First we create a multipoint and then next we create a multipoint having two branches.  The purpose of this topic is to help teach the implementation of geometry in Manifold and other spatial packages using an unusual and rarely met object type, the multipoint, which combines what appear to be many separate points into a single multipoint object.

 

Example: Change the Shape of Areas - Step-by-step editing of an existing area in a drawing: changing the shape by moving a vertex, by moving several vertices together, by moving the entire object, by deleting a vertex and by adding a vertex.

 

Example: Edit Covered Objects - Working with drawings where some areas completely cover smaller areas is a bad idea, but sometimes we have to work with data in that form whether we like it or not.   This topic shows techniques that can help us select and edit objects that are completely hidden by higher objects.

Videos

Manifold Future - Future Tour Part 1 - This video shows how to download and use a portable installation for Manifold Future.  The video also shows the Contents, pane, layers and layer opacity, one click use of data source favorites, using your own archival favorite and getting record values instantly.  If you are using Viewer or Radian Studio, download and use the Future version to get access to all these powerful new features.

 

Manifold Future - Future Tour Part 2 Editing - The video shows how to create new objects, how to add fields and vertices and move vertices around, how to edit existing objects and how to use simple selection methods to choose vertices to move together, including moving all objects.

 

Manifold Future - Future Tour Part 3 Editing - The editing tour continues with a look at how to create branched objects, including how to create areas with holes and islands, how to add branches to lines and how to add coordinates between vertices in existing objects.  We finish up by creating an area that traces over a pond in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris using a Google satellite view, and then we add a hole to that area and two additional islands.

 

Manifold Future - Future Tour Part 4 Edit Attributes, Move a Point - We use Manifold Future to see how to view attributes of objects in drawings, including use of the new Edit dialog to view long, multi-paragraph text fields.  We edit fields and see how easy it is to preview edits and either accept them or abandon them. We switch to editing the geometry of objects in a drawing, viewing the coordinate locations and using mouse moves to reposition points. We edit the location of a point to correct an error in a drawing, using Google Satellite view to provide context for the correction.  Fast and easy, with previews all the way!

 

Manifold Future - Future Tour Part 5 Unicode Attributes and IME -  We take a tour through Manifold Future attribute editing, showing how to edit attributes in a drawing using the Record panel Values

tab and the expanded Edit dialog, including advanced Unicode facilities and use of the built in Input Method Editor (IME) to input text in Japanese language.