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In ArcMap, it is possible to create a hole in a polygon by first drawing the outer limits of the polygon, clicking 'finish part' and then creating a hole somewhere in the middle of the polygon.

It is also possible to create adjacent polygons with the Auto-Complete Polygon by clicking somewhere within an existing polygon, drawing the outer limits of the new polygon and then returning to the existing polygon.

But is it possible to combine these methods, so that after returning to the existing polygon with the Auto-Complete Polygon tool you hit 'finish part' and then move on to create a hole in the middle of the new polygon?

When I try this, after having completed all of the steps above (I have drawn the outer limits of the new polygon, returned to the existing polygon, clicked 'finish part' and finally drawn a hole inside of the new polygon) I end up with only the outer limits of the new polygon. After double-clicking or hitting f2 to complete the polygon the hole has disappeared.

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  1. Select Auto-complete Polygon to create a new polygon
  2. Start drawing your inner polygon
  3. When you have finished your inner polygon, right-click and select Finish Part

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  4. Now draw your outer (auto-completing) polygon. When you Finish Sketch you will now have two separate polygons

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  5. Select just the inner polygon and hit Del

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