I’ve been doing a lot of editing in ArcGIS the last few days, and have run into quite a few things that really annoy me about the new interface in version 10. The editing environment received a major facelift in this version, and that’s where most of my complaints are. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for trying out new things. I am attracted to shiny objects. The thing is though, once the shininess of an object wears off there has to be some functionality left in order for the object to remain useful. I’m pointing out a minor annoyance here because I want to keep this post short. However, there are a few more significant annoyances I plan on talking about in the future.
Feature Construction Mini-Toolbar
The Feature Construction mini-toolbar follows your editing cursor around within the data frame while you are using certain editing tools. This sounds like a very handy feature. You have quicker access to the tools on the mini-toolbar, since you don’t have to reach all the way back up to the docked toolbars every time you need a tool. In practice, however, I don’t find much benefit from it. The problem is, when it it follows your cursor around, it places itself directly below the cursor. Every time. About half the time, this means it’s directly in the path of my next mouse click. The image below shows the mini-toolbar getting in my way as I’m using the reshape tool to edit a stream feature. My next desired click is right were the toolbar is:
The default tools on the Feature Construction mini-toolbar are mostly available on the Editor toolbar, and of course all of them can be added there through customization.
When I’m editing, I typically place or move dozens, if not hundreds, of vertices before needing to use an item on the toolbar. So, the mini-toolbar has dozens, or hundreds, of chances of getting in the way before I have a need to use it just once. This is not handy. This is an annoyance.
Turn It Off
I’m not a software developer, but I have dabbled in programming a little bit. It would seem to me that the mini-toolbar could be modified so that instead of plopping itself down right where you want to click next, it would anticipate your next move and place itself out of the way. Another option might be the use of a hot key, so it still follows your moves, but only reveals itself when a particular key is pressed. Until something along those lines happens, though, I think I’ll just turn the darn thing off and customize my editor toolbar with a few more tools. Here’s how to do that:
On the Editor toolbar, choose the drop-down Editor menu
On the General tab, uncheck the item that says Show mini toolbar