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Copy feature datasets, feature classes, and tables to a geodatabase

You can copy datasets in the following ways:

  • Use the context menu from the Catalog pane to copy datasets. You can copy data in the Catalog pane and paste it to another location.
  • Use geoprocessing tools, such as the Copy tool in the Data Management Tools toolbox. This tool works the same way as the Copy command in the Catalog pane, copying input data from one location and pasting it to another location.

You can copy entire feature datasets or individual feature classes and tables. For every feature dataset, feature class, and table you copy and paste, the result is a new feature dataset, feature class, and table in the destination geodatabase with all the features or records from the source data. If you’re copying into a file or enterprise geodatabase, you can specify a configuration keyword to control how the new feature classes and tables are stored.

When you copy and paste, you copy any dependent data as well. Therefore, if you copy a network dataset or topology class, all the feature classes in the network or topology are also copied. If you copy a feature class or table that participates in a relationship class, the relationship class and all other feature classes or tables in the relationship class are also copied. The same is true for a feature class that has feature-linked annotation; the feature-linked annotation is copied too. For a feature class that has a domain, subtype, or index, the domain, subtype, or index is also copied.

If you are copying a feature class into an existing feature dataset, either in the same geodatabase or in another geodatabase, the spatial reference of the feature class and feature dataset must match. If they do not, you cannot paste the feature class into the feature dataset.

Use context menu commands

You can copy any dataset from a geodatabase or database using the Copy command on the context menu in the Catalog pane, and paste the dataset into a destination geodatabase. There are two options when pasting the datasets into the destination geodatabase: Paste and Paste Special.

Paste

To copy and paste tables, feature classes, or feature datasets in the Catalog pane using the Paste command, follow these steps.

  1. In the Catalog pane, connect to the geodatabase or database that contains the feature dataset, feature class, or table you want to copy.
  2. Right-click the feature dataset, feature class, or table and click Copy.
  3. Right-click the geodatabase to which you want to copy the data.
  4. Click Paste.

    A progress bar appears in the destination geodatabase to display the progress of the copy-paste operation. You can cancel the copy-paste operation by clicking the stop button in the progress bar.

    A copy of the feature dataset, feature class, or table and its related items are present in the target geodatabase. If there are any name conflicts in the target geodatabase, the name of the copied data has a number appended to the end of its name to make the name unique.

Tip:

To copy a geometric network or topology class and all the participating feature classes, copy and paste the network or topology class only. This will copy all the participating feature classes along with it. You cannot copy and paste individual feature classes participating in a network or topology.

Paste Special

If you want to have more control over how the data is pasted into the target geodatabase, you can choose the Paste Special option on the context menu. The Paste Special dialog box lists the datasets being pasted into the target geodatabase. Any name conflicts are automatically resolved and highlighted in red. If you want to rename an item that is being copied, you can do so by editing the Target Name. If you are pasting into a file or enterprise geodatabase and you want to control how the new feature classes and tables are created and stored, you can choose a configuration keyword from the Configuration Keyword drop-down list. Attribute domains that are associated with the datasets being copied are also listed in this dialog box but are for informative purposes only, meaning, for example, that you cannot rename the output domain name.

Note:

The Paste Special option is only available on the context menu for geodatabases that have been added to the project.

  1. In the Catalog pane, connect to the geodatabase or database that contains the feature dataset, feature class, or table you want to copy.
  2. Right-click the feature dataset, feature class, or table you want to copy and click Copy.
  3. Right-click the geodatabase to which you want to copy the data.
  4. Click Paste Special.
  5. The Paste Special dialog box appears showing what data is being copied. Any name conflicts are automatically resolved and highlighted in red.

  6. Type over the default names in the Target Name text box to change any of the output names.
  7. If you’re copying into a file or enterprise geodatabase and want to control how the new feature classes and tables are created and stored, choose a keyword from the drop-down list.
  8. Click OK to paste the data into the target geodatabase.

    A progress bar appears in the target geodatabase to display the progress of the copy-paste operation. You can cancel the copy-paste operation by clicking the stop button in the progress bar.

    A copy of the feature dataset, feature class, or table and its related items are present in the destination geodatabase.

Copy features using Export

You can export the features in a layer to a new feature class by using the Copy Features geoprocessing tool that opens when you select Export Features from the layer context menu in the Contents pane.

  1. Add a layer to the map.
  2. Right-click the layer in the Contents pane and click Export > Export features.

    Note:

    If there are features selected in the map, the Copy Features tool copies only the selected features. If you want to include all features in the feature class, make sure to clear the selection before you export the features.

    This opens the Copy Features geoprocessing tool. The Input Features parameter is populated with the layer you selected.

  3. Choose a destination geodatabase and feature class name for the Output Feature Class parameter.
  4. Click Run to execute the tool and make a copy of the features in the layer.

Copy multiple feature classes

You can use the Feature Class to Geodatabase (multiple) geoprocessing tool to export multiple feature classes from one geodatabase to another.

Note:

Be aware that the Feature Class to Geodatabase (multiple) tool copies only simple feature classes. For example, if you have feature classes contained within feature datasets to be exported, only the feature classes are copied. The feature dataset, plus any of its advanced elements such as topologies, relationship classes, or attachments, will not be copied to the output geodatabase.

  1. Open the Feature Class to Geodatabase (multiple) geoprocessing tool. You can do this by searching for it in the Geoprocessing pane search, or by browsing to it in the Conversion toolbox in the To Geodatabase toolset.
  2. Add feature classes to the Input Features parameter by clicking the Browse button and choosing the feature classes you want. Alternatively, if you have the feature classes open as a layer in the map, use the drop-down menu in the Input Features parameter and select the layer you want to copy.
  3. Use the Browse button to select the Output Geodatabase into which you want to copy your feature classes.
  4. Click Run to execute the tool.
Tip:

You can use a similar workflow to copy multiple tables from one geodatabase to another by using the Table to Geodatabase (multiple) geoprocessing tool.