I'm using ArcGIS (Desktop 10.2.2) and I have some graphic lines drawn over my data which I wish to modify. When I click on one with the Select Elements tool the line is selected (handles appear) but the Edit Vertices button on the Drawing toolbar remains greyed out. I also cannot move them (Select Elements cursor never changes to the cross-arrow when I mouse over the line), or delete or group them (those options in the context menu are greyed out).

It seems to be replicable in that if I create a new line (or copy and paste an old one) I can edit it, but if I close and reopen the map document the 'new' line then shows the same problem and cannot be edited. It's as if a save + close somehow "locks" the graphic.

What has happened to my graphic features to make them non-modifiable?

  • I cannot reproduce this using ArcMap 10.3.1. I draw a line graphic and then save and close ArcMap. When I re-open it and Select the cursor changes so that I can move it. I have no trouble deleting it using the Delete key, and can move vertices using Edit Vertices. If you have not already closed ArcMap (and perhaps even rebooted your machine) then that often cures an inexplicably misbehaving session for me.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 8:35
  • Same here, I do not replicate the difference between sessions: what was editable is still editable after shutting down & re-opening the map. seems not all drawings can have their vertices edited: I manage it for polygons and any type of lines, but not for rectangles, circles or ellipses (edit vertices tool is greyed out for those).
    – Hélène
    Commented Oct 9, 2015 at 8:41

1 Answer 1


During further investigation, including rebuilding the data frame from scratch and adding all layers individually, I found that the lines had become part of an Annotation layer. I don't know how this happened - while I am familiar with graphics and spatial features, I am relatively new to annotations, and so must have mis-clicked somewhere while creating my desired annotations.

I had to delete the lines (after opening up the annotation layer for editing) and then redraw them as graphics, but at least my layout is fixed and I know what to look for next time. Thanks to those who tried to assist, in any case.

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