Xtools Description


If you are interested in acquiring an ArcView Extension with a number of useful tools, read on.

Xtools ArcView Extension Description: This extension contains useful tools developed, collected, or modified by Mike DeLaune, Oregon Department of Forestry. All of the more complicated tools have "Shift" click instructions. That is, you hold down the shift key and click on the menu item to get a description of the tool and instructions for running it. For Windows users, the description and instructions are copied to the system clipboard, so you can paste them into a text editor like Notepad or Word and thus print them out.

Xtools is a user-developed extension aimed at meeting the analytic needs of ArcView users in the Oregon Department of Forestry. It is being made available to others with similar needs free of charge on an "as is" basis. I am posting XTools on the ODF Web site instead of the ESRI site because Xtools is still in the process of evolving.

So, what is in Xtools?

Xtools makes these additions to the View GUI:

1. An Xtools Menu with menu items that are equivalent in purpose to some ArcInfo Commands. In the following list, the equivalent ArcInfo commands are in parentheses:

Buffer Selected Features (BUFFER)

Clip With Polygon(s) (CLIP)

Erase Features (ERASE)

Identity (IDENTITY)

Intersect Themes (INTERSECT)

Merge Themes (PUT, GET)

Union Polygon themes (UNION)

Update Polygon Theme (UPDATE)

2. Additional features in this menu include:

Update Area, Perimeter, Acres, Length

Transfer / Convert Selected Features

Convert MultiPart Shapes to Single Part Shapes

Convert Polygon to Polyline

Make One Polygon From Polylines

Convert Shape To Graphic

Convert Graphics To Shapes

Convert Shape To Centroid

Batch Import Active themes To Shapefiles

Manage Shapefiles.

3. Xtools also adds one button (with a Sum Icon) to the View GUI. This button provides information on the number of selected features in each theme, the total acres in selected features for polygon themes, the total length in selected features for polyline themes, and the ability to clear all selected features in all themes in one operation.

Other changes to the View GUI include: Setting the default map units and distance units to "feet" when a new View is created, displaying acres when digitizing in a new polygon feature or graphic; and displaying the acres of a polygon feature or graphic and the length of a polyline feature or graphic when selecting features.


Xtools makes these additions to the Table GUI:

An Xtools Menu with the following menu items:

Field Properties

Table Structure Information

Delete Multiple Fields

Export Table to Excel Spreadsheet.

Table Frequency


Xtools makes this addition to the Project GUI:

An Xtools Menu with:

See Environment Paths: Shows the paths currently assigned to the following environment variables: HOME, TEMP, CWD, AVHOME, AVEXT, AVBIN, USEREXT

About XTools… : A description of XTools. 


Accessing the Xtools Extension:

Xtools is available on the ODF Web Site: http://www.odf.state.or.us/sfgis


Changing the Xtools Extension Default To Meters:

When a new View is opened while the XTools Extension is loaded, the View map units and distance units are set to feet. While this works great for the people in my organization that I wrote XTools for, a number of other XTools users have asked me how to change this default to meters. Since XTools.avx (the XTools Extension) is an ascii text file, it can be edited with a word processing program. Here is an easy procedure for setting the default to meters instead of feet.

Step 1. Make a copy of XTools.avx (just in case you have a problem and need to start over).

Step 2. Open XTools.avx with a word processing program that has a search and replace feature.

[Note: I have used MS Word and MS Wordpad for this conversion without any problems. However, I have received a report that one text editor, KEDIT, somehow mis-interpreted/aligned the carriage return codes in Xtools.avx and deleted a space between two words. This led to an error message when the user later attempted to use Xtools. If something similar happens to you, then just try the process again on a duplicated of your saved copy of Xtools with a different text editor.]

Step 3. Search for all occurrences of the word feet, and replace them with the word meters.

Step 4. One occurrence of the word meters needs to be changed back to feet, so that the Buffer script has feet as a buffering option. Search for the word nautical. This will get you to the right line of the Xtools.avx file. Prior to the word nautical on the same line you should see the word meters listed twice. Change the second occurrence of meters to feet.

(The purpose of the next step (Step 5) is to make the acres calculations that XTools does come out right. 4046.87261 is the number of square meters in an acre. If you want to have hectares instead of acres, then do steps 5a and 5b instead of step 5)

Step 5. Search for all occurrences of the number 43560, and replace them with the number 4046.87261


Step 5a. Search for all occurrences of the number 43560, and replace them with the number 10000 ( the number of square meters in a hectare) and

Step 5b. Search for all occurrences of the word Acres, and replace them with the word Hectares.

Step 6. Save XTools.avx as an ascii text file.



Note: This ArcView Extension is not guaranteed to be free of bugs. Please report any bugs you find to mike.g.delaune@state.or.us

Give as complete a description of the problem as you can, along with the exact wording of any error messages. Xtools was developed on a Windows 95 PC using ArcView 3.0a. It has been tested on Windows 95 and Windows NT machines. It has not been tested on Unix machines or older versions of ArcView.

Due to time limitations it is unlikely that I will be able to answer many "how to use it" questions. Hopefully, the "Shift" click instructions will provide sufficient answers to such questions.



Buffer Selected Features is a from Jim Peroutky. I picked it up off the ESRI site and made a couple of minor changes. The Table Frequency script is by Mark Cederholm. The Convert Shape To Centroid script is by Marco Boeringa.

Most of the rest of the scripts I either wrote myself or did a major rewrite of an ESRI sample script. Two of the scripts (Field Properties, and Table Structure Information) are ESRI sample scripts with few changes. The major rewrites to the ESRI sample scripts for the most part involved improving the user interface, making them work with all four feature types and with both single and multipart features, and (in some cases) speeding up processing times.


Have fun!

Mike DeLaune