Shapes are commonly used to represent building footprints that are extruded either manually using the Push Pull tool or serve as starting points for CGA rules. In the latter role, they are referred to as initial shapes.

Create shapes manually

Shapes can be drawn and edited using a set of tools. See Polygons, rectangles, circles for more information about shape creation tools.

Import shapes

Shapes from various file formats can be imported. The most important are the georeferenced formats, Esri FileGDB (.gdb), Esri Shapefiles (.shp), OpenStreetMap (.osm), and KML (.kml, .kmz).

A convenient way to import georeferenced shapes is through ArcGIS Online and the Get map data feature.

The nongeoreferenced 3D formats Wavefront OBJ (.obj), Autodesk FBX (.fbx), and Khronos Group glTF (.gltf, .glb) are supported. These 3D models can be imported either as static models or as shapes. Import as shapes in case you plan to use the data as initial shapes for CGA modelling.


The term shape is also used in a different context when referring to rule-based modeling.

Shapes in the graph layer

When drawing or importing graph layers, dynamic shapes are created automatically for nodes and edges.


These shapes can be found in the accompanying graph layer as children of the edges and nodes.

  • These shapes are adjusted automatically when the underlying graph is edited, therefore, they are dynamic.
  • These shapes are not editable by push pull tools.
  • They are used for procedural modeling only. See Graphs for more information.