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Starting and stopping an edit session

Release 9.2
Last modified August 17, 2007
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About starting and stopping an edit session

Editing occurs in an edit session. During an edit session, you can create or modify vector features or tabular attribute information. When you want to edit, you need to start an edit session, which you end when you're done. Edits are temporary until you choose to save and apply them permanently to your data.

Choosing which data to start editing

You can start an edit session for feature classes from one geodatabase or for shapefiles from one folder at a time. If editable data from more than one database or folder is present in your map when you start your edit session, you will be prompted to choose the database or folder from which you want to edit data.
If the data you choose to edit is in a different coordinate system than the data frame, you'll get a message box informing you of this. You can edit data that is in a different coordinate system than the data frame in which it is displayed. However, some editing tasks may give you unexpected alignment or accuracy problems. Click the About Coordinate Systems button on that message box for more information, or click the Start Editing button to start editing anyway. You can check the Don't warn me again box if you don't want to get this message in the future.

Sometimes, the Start Editing command may be disabled. This is often because you don't have shapefiles or geodatabase feature classes in your map. Some formats can be imported into a geodatabase.
If you receive a permissions message when you attempt to start editing, you may have added read-only data, such as data from a CD–ROM or a server that you don't have write permissions to.

Editing with ArcView

ArcView has a restricted ability to edit geodatabase data. With an ArcView license, you can edit any data that was created using ArcView in a file or personal geodatabase. However, you will receive a message if the geodatabase data you try to edit can't be edited in ArcView. If you are using ArcView, you can't edit data from connections to ArcSDE geodatabases. Data items and capabilities such as geometric networks, topologies, feature-linked annotation, relationship classes, and dimension feature classes that can only be created or added to a geodatabase in ArcEditor or ArcInfo, can't be edited in ArcView. Feature classes that participate in or have those capabilities also can't be edited in ArcView. If you need to edit these, you should upgrade your ArcGIS license to ArcEditor or ArcInfo instead of ArcView.
Learn more about ArcView and working with geodatabases

Saving edits

When you're finished editing, you can save any changes you've made back to the data source or quit editing without saving. You can also save the edits you've made at any time by clicking Save Edits on the Editor menu.

How to start and stop an edit session

Starting an edit session

  1. Start ArcMap and add the Editor toolbar.
  2. If your map contains editable data from more than one geodatabase or folder, choose the collection that you want to edit. Otherwise, skip to step 3.
  3. Click the Editor menu and click Start Editing.

  4. The Editor toolbar is now active.


  • If your map contains more than one data frame, you will be editing data from the data frame that is active when you click Start Editing. To edit a different data frame, activate the desired data frame, then click Start Editing. For a discussion on data frames, see Working with data frames.
  • You can also edit data in layout view.

Saving your edits in the middle of an edit session

  1. Click the Editor menu.
  2. Click Save Edits.

  3. Any edits you have made are saved to the database.

Stopping an edit session

  1. Click the Editor menu and click Stop Editing.
  2. Click Yes to save changes.

  3. Click No to quit without saving.


  • You will be prompted to save your edits if you close ArcMap while in an edit session.

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