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Problem: Unable to create a circle feature using the Circle tool

Description

When creating a circle feature using the Circle tool by specifying the radius value and a unit abbreviation other than map units in the Radius window, the tool fails to create the feature. However, the documentation on creating a circle feature using the Circle tool states that it is possible to specify the radius value in units other than the map units by specifying the unit abbreviation with the radius value entered. For example, users must enter 100 m to create a circle with 100 meters radius. The image below is an example of creating a circle feature by entering the radius value with a unit abbreviation.

An image of the step to create a circle by entering the radius value and its unit abbreviation.

 

Cause

A possible cause for this issue is that the coordinate system used by the data frame is a geographic coordinate system. A geographic coordinate system, such as NAD 1927, uses decimal degrees as the measurement unit. It is not possible to create a circle feature using the Circle tool by specifying a radius value with a unit abbreviation other than the map units if the data frame uses a geographic coordinate system.

Refer to the following article for steps to check the coordinate system of the data frame, How To: Check the coordinate systems of the data frame and layers in ArcMap.

Note:
The behavior described above is expected. It is not recommended to edit precise distances for data covering smaller areas using a geographic coordinate system. It is best to use a projected coordinate system that is local to the specific study area of the data for better accuracy and functionality.

Solution or Workaround

As a workaround, change the coordinate system used by the data frame to a projected coordinate system. Refer to the following document for steps to change the data frame's coordinate system: Changing the data frame's coordinate system, and select a projected coordinate system from the Projected Coordinate Systems folder.

An image of the Data Frame Properties dialog box. The Projected Coordinate Systems folder is selected to view the list of the projected coordinate systems available.
It is now possible to create a circle feature by entering the radius value and a unit abbreviation in the Radius window of the Circle construction tool.

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