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Use web feature layers

Web feature layers (also known as feature services) are used as feature layers in ArcGIS Pro for displaying, querying, and editing data on the web. The following are some common tasks for working with feature layers on the web in ArcGIS Pro.

Web feature layer information model

In ArcGIS Pro, web feature layers support the following subset of geodatabase functionality:

  • Simple geometry—Only points, lines, polygons are supported. Datasets such as feature datasets, dimensions, annotation, networks, and multipatches are not supported.)
  • Relationship classes
  • Attachments
  • Domains

View web feature layers in the Contents pane

A web feature layer can be added to a map or scene from an ArcGIS Server connection as an item from your active portal connection or by specifying a URL when adding data from a path. Web feature layers contain sublayers. You can add the entire layer all at once or browse into the sublayers and add individual sublayers on their own. If you add a web feature layer to a map, the layer is added to the Contents pane as a group layer containing all of the sublayers. These sublayers can be rearranged within the group layer or moved out of the group layer to stand on their own. The group layer is used for organizational purposes and does not affect layer functionality. If you add individual sublayers to a map, they will be represented individually in the Contents pane.

Work with feature layers from the web

Once a web feature layer is added to ArcGIS Pro, it behaves as any other feature layer from a geodatabase would. To get information about the layer, access the Layer Properties dialog box by right-clicking the layer in the Contents pane and clicking Properties, or double-clicking the layer name. From the layer properties dialog box, you can set definition queries and find information about extent, data source (URL), coordinate system, and other layer properties.

If the connected user owns the feature layer on the back end portal, they can add and delete fields from the layer from the Fields View. This is the only DDL (data definition language) type operation currently supported on web feature layers in ArcGIS Pro.

The labelling, visibility range, and symbology for the layer are set automatically based on the settings from the portal or server where it resides. You can override these settings using the Appearance and Labelling tabs or the layer properties dialog box.

Snapping is disabled by default for web feature layers. To enable snapping, click List By Snapping List By Snapping in the Contents pane.

For more information about layer properties, see Set layer properties.

Edit web feature layers

In most cases, editing web feature layers is the same as editing other simple vector data. There is one notable exception: undo and redo are not supported.

When you edit data through a web feature layer, ArcGIS Pro immediately commits the edits to the underlying data source. This means that the Save and Discard buttons on the Edit tab will not be enabled when performing edits to these layers.


There are settings on the back end feature service that determine if true curves can be edited. If the service permits editing, the true curves that are edited will be densified. This is because all queries to the back end feature service return densified curve geometry, so there is no way for ArcGIS Pro as a client to edit and return curves.

Feature layer caches

To help ensure good performance with data from the web, display and feature caching are enabled by default when you add a web layer to a map or scene in a project. The display cache uses a generalized and lightly attributed version of the currently displayed data to render features on the display quickly. The feature cache creates a local copy of the full resolution data, which is used during editing and querying. The display cache is used by most types of vector layers in a map, while the feature cache is only used by web feature layers. The following steps explain how to disable, enable, or clear a feature cache.

Manage the feature cache

  1. In the Contents pane, click List By Data Source List By Data Source.
  2. Right-click the server Server corresponding to your web feature layer.
  3. In the context menu, there are options to enable, disable or clear the feature cache.
    • If the cache is enabled, the Enable Cache option Enable Feature Cache will be unavailable. Click Disable Cache Disable Feature Cache or Clear Cache Clear Feature Cache to disable or clear the feature cache.
    • If the cache is disabled, the Disable Cache option Disable Feature Cache and Clear Cache option Clear Feature Cache will be unavailable. Click Enable Cache Enable Feature Cache to enable feature caching.
    • If the cache has been recently cleared, the Enable Cache option Enable Feature Cache and Clear Cache option Clear Feature Cache will be unavailable. Click Disable Cache Disable Feature Cache to disable feature caching.

See how caching works to learn more.