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Editing values in a table

Release 9.3
Last modified April 24, 2009
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About editing values in tables

Note: This topic was updated for 9.3.1.

A database is only as good as the information it contains. Over time, you'll need to edit the information in your database to keep it accurate and up to date. ArcMap lets you edit the attributes of features displayed on your map and also the attributes contained in tables that are not represented geographically on the map (for example, a table of monthly sales figures).

There are two ways you can edit attribute values in ArcMap. You can open the table and edit in the table window, or you can open the Attributes dialog box. As with editing map features in ArcMap, editing the attributes of features and values in tables takes place within an edit session. When you've completed your edits, you can save them and end the edit session.


Editing values in the table window

Once you begin an edit session, you'll notice this icon Editing next to the Options button on the table window, indicating that the table can be edited. In addition, those fields that you can edit will have a white background in the field heading. You can make any of the attribute changes you need by clicking on a cell and typing a new attribute value.

Table window showing some selected records while editing


Editing attributes through the table window allows you to quickly make changes to several features (records) at once. You can edit any of the values that appear in a table as well as add and delete records. You can also use the field calculator to change the values of a particular field for several records at once.

If you have a list of values, you can copy and can paste them into the table to populate successive cells. For example, you can take a list from a text editor or Microsoft Excel, copy the values, then right-click a cell in the ArcMap table window and click Paste. When you paste, make sure you are not in cell insert mode (in order words, that the cursor is not flashing in a cell), so the values will go into multiple cells, not just a single cell.

You can increase your productivity when working with the table window by using keyboard and mouse shortcuts. For example, if you want to work methodically through an entire table row by row when you are editing or reviewing data, press Ctrl + Enter. To learn more about these and other shortcuts, see Keyboard shortcuts for working with tables.

Copying and pasting records in multiple cells


It is easy to paste data into vertical consecutive cells in a column when you are populating a table. This can save time if you are updating an existing table and want to use information in other applications such as Excel and Word. For example, you may want to use Excel to assemble and spell check updates to an existing field in an ArcMap table and then simply paste the values from Excel into the table instead of loading the Excel table into ArcMap and joining it to your table.

In this example, four consecutive cell values in a column in an Excel spreadsheet will be pasted into four consecutive cells in a field in an ArcMap table. First select the cells in Excel as a block and copy the block to the clipboard:

Copying records from Excel


In ArcMap, right-click the first cell at the top of the vertical block of consecutive cells and click Paste. The values get pasted into the field in the same order they occurred in the Excel file:

Pasting text into multiple cells in a table

To increase the size of the rows so the text wraps inside the cell, click Options > Appearance, and increase the cell height.


Editing values in the Attributes dialog box

When you're editing the attributes of specific map features, you may find it more convenient to use the Attributes dialog box Attributes accessed from the Editor toolbar. This dialog box is tailored to updating the attributes of specific map features. To populate the Attributes dialog box, you need to select at least one feature.

Editing selected records in the Attributes dialog box


Learn more about editing in the Attributes dialog box.


How to edit values in tables

Editing text in records

  1. Click Editor on the Editor toolbar and click Start Editing.
  2. Open the table.
  3. Click the cell containing the attribute value you want to change.
  4. Type the values and press Enter.
  5. The table is updated.

Tips

  • To display the Editor toolbar, click the Editor toolbar button on the Standard toolbar.
  • You can navigate the cells in a table by pressing the Tab or arrow keys on your keyboard. Press the F2 key to start editing in the active cell and Esc to undo the edits you just made to a cell. To learn more about these and other shortcuts, see Keyboard shortcuts for working with tables.
  • Click the Undo button Undo button to undo an edit to a table. You can continue undoing edits you've made in the current edit session using the Undo button.


Adding new records

  1. Click Editor on the Editor toolbar and click Start Editing.
  2. Open the table.
  3. Click the Move to end of table button Move to end of table button.
  4. Click a cell in the last empty record and type a new value.
  5. A new record is added at the bottom of the table.

    NOTE: Use these steps to add new records to tables that don't have associated geographic features. If you want to add features to your shapefile or geodatabase, use the Create New Feature task on the Editor toolbar.

Tips

  • Use the steps in this procedure to add new records to tables that don't have associated geographic features. If you want to add features to your shapefile or geodatabase, use the Create New Feature task on the Editor toolbar.
  • To display the Editor toolbar, click the Editor toolbar button on the Standard toolbar.

  • You can navigate the cells in a table by pressing the Tab or arrow keys on your keyboard.
  • To undo any edit to a table, click the Undo button Undo button. You can continue undoing edits you've made in the current edit session using the Undo button.


Deleting records

  1. Click Editor on the Editor toolbar and click Start Editing.
  2. Open the table.
  3. Select the records you want to delete. Press and hold the Ctrl key while clicking to select more than one record.
  4. Press the Delete key on the keyboard.
  5. The geographic features associated with the records, if any, are also deleted.

Tips

  • To display the Editor toolbar, click the Editor toolbar button on the Standard toolbar.
  • You can navigate the cells in a table by pressing the Tab or arrow keys on your keyboard.
  • To undo any edit to a table, click the Undo button Undo button. You can continue undoing edits you've made in the current edit session using the Undo button.
  • When in an edit session, you can also right-click the row button on the left side of the table and click Delete Selected to delete the selected records.
  • When you are in Show All Records mode, pressing Ctrl + D also deletes the selected records the same as pressing the Delete key. When you are in Show Selected Records mode, Ctrl + D deletes the currently highlighted (yellow) records in your selection, making it easy to delete a subset of the records in your current selection.


Copying and pasting records

  1. Click Editor on the Editor toolbar and click Start Editing.
  2. Open the table.
  3. Select the records you want to copy. Press and hold the Ctrl key while clicking to select more than one record.

  4. Click the Copy button Copy button on the Standard toolbar.
  5. Click the Paste button Paste button on the Standard toolbar.
  6. The new records are added at the end of the table.

Tips

  • This method of copying and pasting records is only valid for attribute tables of layers. It will not work for tables that have no associated features.
  • To display the Editor toolbar, click the Editor toolbar button on the Standard toolbar.
  • You can navigate the cells in a table by pressing the Tab or arrow keys on your keyboard.
  • To undo any edit to a table, click the Undo button Undo button. You can continue undoing edits you've made in the current edit session using the Undo button.


Editing values in the Attributes dialog box

    See Editing attributes.

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