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Changing Field Properties

April 26 2010 | 0 comments
Categories: Map Data

Once field properties of an attribute table are set, I cannot find a way to reset or modify them. For instance, I added a column to an existing attribute table to create hyperlinks. I originally selected a field length of 75, but it turned out that I need a much greater field length. How can I simply change the field length for that particular field? Or do I have to delete the entire column and recreate a new one?

Mapping Center Answer:

Sorry--the phrasing of that first response wasn't very clear.

First, field properties cannot be edited in ArcGIS. That has nothing to do with when the table or feature class was created, as the first response indicated. Editing field properties is typically not possible in many database formats. The expectation of editable field properties stems mostly from people who are familiar with and work with spreadsheets, where such is easily possible. Although the Microsoft Access database format is the one notable exception in that you could edit field properties in Design view as long as the database was not locked.

Second, the way to do this in ArcGIS is to add a new field that is correctly defined, and then use then calculate that field to contain the values of the insufficiently defined field, then delete the old field.

Generally speaking, once you have the desired schema determined for a table, it is a good practice to keep an empty table or feature class with that schema around to be copied into the database you're working with and then use the Append tool to add features.


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