I defined a brand new shapefile as a polyline type in ArcCat. When I opened ArcMap (10.1) and started an editing session, I had no problems adding vertices. I would now like to manually add a point at the start of the line - but I am having unexpected difficulty.

Edit: I think I may be taking the wrong approch here:

While in editing mode with the shapefile selected, "point - adds point to the edit sketch" is greyed out. If I go to Editor> Construct Points, I get the error: "The map does not contain a point target. Add an editable point layer and / or a point template to the map."

I am confused at this message. Is the polyline not a point target? Under my Create Features window, the shapefile shows up with the "Line" construction tools. Is the polyline not the "template to map"?)

I have looked at online help related to my question - but in my case, I can't can the point tool they mention in step 9.

EDIT: I think I may have misunderstood the purpose of "add point" - I thought this was how to manually "split" a line into two and have the line acquire a row in its attribute table. So to rephrase my question: how do I define a vertex so that it "splits" a line into two segments? (I'm no longer sure what "add points" is meant for)

  • 3
    You need a separate feature layer for different geometry types. You need to create a point layer to add your points at the end of the line.
    – Mapperz
    Nov 1, 2012 at 20:56
  • Maybe I'm not being clear if I understand you to be saying that I need to make another point (rather than polyline) shapefile? I am trying to add a point to my polyline so that point will come up as a row in that polyline shapefile's attribute table.
    – whatIS
    Nov 1, 2012 at 21:10
  • @Mapperz is correct, you cannot have more than 1 type of geometry in a shapefile, feature class, etc. (See technical nuance here.)
    – blah238
    Nov 1, 2012 at 22:16
  • To be clear, I believe @Mapperz means a separate shapefile or feature class, not just feature layer which does not necessarily imply a separate shapefile or feature class.
    – blah238
    Nov 1, 2012 at 22:19
  • separate feature layer for different geometry type = separate shapefiles for point and lines
    – Mapperz
    Nov 2, 2012 at 13:17

1 Answer 1


From the help topic Methods for splitting line features:

You can easily split line features to break them into several line features. There are several methods to split lines:

  • At the location where you click (Editor toolbar > Split tool)
  • At a specific distance or percentage (Editor menu > Split command)
  • Into an equal number of parts (Editor menu > Split command)
  • At intersections, either existing or where lines are extended to meet (Advanced Editing toolbar > Line Intersection tool)
  • At all intersections (Advanced Editing toolbar > Planarize Lines)
  • At specific distances, with any leftover line length being apportioned among the segments (COGO toolbar > Proportion command)
  • At each vertex of the line or at points along a line (Split Line At Vertices or Split Line At Points geoprocessing tools)

It sounds like you want to use the Split tool on the Editor toolbar.

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