Erasing and hiding feature representations

This topic applies to ArcGIS for Desktop Standard and ArcGIS for Desktop Advanced only.

Feature representations can be hidden, masked, and erased while editing to remove them from the display as necessary.

Erasing feature representations

You can interactively erase a portion, or all, of selected feature representation geometry using the Erase tool Erase Tool. You can also erase entire selected feature representations by right-clicking with the Erase tool or the Select tool Select Tool and choosing Erase Representation. Multiple feature representations can be erased at once.

Erasing an entire feature representation interactively with the Erase tool Erase Tool will keep its geometry intact, but it will make the feature representation invisible by unchecking (thereby overriding) the Visibility property in its representation rule.

How to erase feature representations

  1. In an edit session, select one or more feature representations using the Select tool Select Tool or the Lasso Select tool Lasso Select Tool on the Representation toolbar.
  2. Using the Erase tool Erase Tool, click and drag over the selected feature representation or representations to erase portions. The representation geometry is updated.


  • If the erase action splits a feature representation into two or more parts, a multipart feature is created.
  • Press the E key to activate the Erase tool Erase Tool.
  • Right-click and click Options with the Erase tool Erase Tool to toggle between a round and square eraser and to change its size. Interactively change the size of the eraser by holding down the SHIFT key and clicking and dragging. Press the TAB key to switch between a round and square eraser.
  • To erase an entire feature, you can also right-click with the Erase tool Erase Tool and click Erase Representation. This will remove the representation rule from the feature, leaving it with no rule assigned. The feature has not been deleted; it is just not displayed, or it is now displayed with the invalid rule symbol. See How to display feature representations that have NULL or invalid rules.

Hiding feature representations

You hide feature representations with the representation Visibility property. Visibility is universally set for the whole feature class representation, either uniformly or mapped to an explicit field in the feature class table. The default setting is that all feature representations will be visible. As with any other representation rule property, it can be overridden on a feature-by-feature basis during an edit session. Hidden feature representations are not deleted, and they are still assigned to a representation rule.

How to hide feature representations

  1. In an edit session, select one or more feature representations.
  2. If necessary, click the Representation Properties button Representation Properties on the Representation toolbar to open the Representation Properties window.
  3. Click the Drawing tab on the Representation Properties window.
  4. Uncheck the Visibility property. The feature still exists and is still assigned to a representation rule, but it does not draw on the map or print. The Override icon Representation property overridden appears next to the Visibility property, indicating that this feature representation has deviated from the rule.


  • To make the feature representation visible again, either check the Visibility property on, click the Override icon Representation property overridden to remove the override, or choose the Make Visible command from the Representation button drop-down menu on the Representation toolbar.
  • You can also make feature representations invisible by clicking the Representation button on the Representation toolbar and clicking Make Invisible.

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