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I need to create many parallel lines.

Is there a tool in ArcGIS Desktop where you input the distance between the parallels and the number of them?

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You can create parallel lines very easily using Create Fishnet (Data Management) in ArcGIS. In the attached fishnet screenshot, I specified one row and 50 columns in order to create a grid of 50 parallel lines over a study area.

enter image description here

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Edit: To rotate the fishnet grid to any direction you want, select all of the lines and use the rotate feature on the editor toolbar. Also, simply delete the top and bottom lines if they interfere with your analysis.

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This will work well, assuming the parallels don't have to run diagonally. – user3461 Jan 12 '13 at 19:04
@GeoKevin Thanks, post edited to address comments. – Aaron Jan 12 '13 at 19:18
I should also note that you can specify the origin to create a diagonal grid outside of the editor. – Aaron Jan 12 '13 at 19:49
Good point @Aaron, I didn't think about rotate feature. This gets my vote as the best way to create many parallels at once. – user3461 Jan 12 '13 at 21:25

The copy parallel command is avalable on the edit pulldown.
copyparallel command
the Command allows to set 1 or both sides to offset.
command ui

However the instructions below are what I would probably do (if I wasn't able to use autocad map).

the easiest way I can think of to do this (without porgramming or autocad).

  1. start edit session.
  2. create the first line.
  3. use the create feature tool.
  4. switch to the trace tool.
  5. hit o button (this brings up trace options).
    trace options
  6. set the offset to +n or -n for direction (check the trace selected features button).
  7. trace, double click and repeat.

Autocad has the offset command (which does exactly as you asked).
Someone will most likely post a python script which will do it.

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