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How To: Create an outline around features

Summary

In ArcMap, certain areas in a polygon feature class can be outlined to accentuate selected features. This allows the outlined area to be visually segregated, and is useful when defining boundaries or highlighting areas of interest.
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Procedure

There are two ways to draw an outline around a specific area of a feature.

Create multiple layers of the specific features

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  1. Select the specific features from the initial layer using the Select Features tool User-added image.
  2. Right-click the feature layer in the Table Of Contents > Selection > Create Layer From Selected Features.
  3. Click the symbol of the new layer in the Table Of Contents to open the Symbol Selector dialog box.
  4. Change the Fill Color to No Color, and change the Outline Width and Outline Color to the desired thickness and color, respectively.
  5. Click OK. The outline of the selected features is created.
Note: 
If it is necessary to remove the lines within the perimeter of the outlined area, proceed with the subsequent steps.
  1. Repeat Step 1 to 2 for the specific features to create another layer.
Note:
Skip Step 1 if features are not deselected after Step 5.
  1. Right-click the new layer in the Table Of Contents, and click Properties.
  2. In the Symbology tab, click Import.
  3. In the Import Symbology dialog, ensure that the initial layer is selected in the Layer drop-down list, and click OK > OK.
  4. Deselect the features. A single outline of all selected features is visible.
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Use the Buffer tool

Note:
To use the Buffer tool, the map must have a projected coordinate system since the Buffer tool uses linear units.
  1. Select the specific features from the initial layer using the Select Features tool User-added image.
  2. Right-click the feature layer in the Table Of ContentsSelection > Create Layer From Selected Features.
  3. On the Standard toolbar, click Geoprocessing > Buffer.
  4. Select the new layer as the Input Features. In the Linear unit field for the buffer distance, use the shortest distance, and set the smallest unit type in the unit drop-down list. Change the Dissolve Type to ALL, and click OK. A new layer is created.
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Note: 
The shortest distance and smallest unit type is based on the spatial reference of the users' map.
  1. Click the symbol of the new layer in the Table Of Contents to open the Symbol Selector dialog box.
  2. Change the Fill Color to No Color, change the Outline Width and Outline Color to the desired thickness and color respectively.
  3. Click OK .The outline of the selected features is created.
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