Edit feature attributes

The Attributes pane Attributes contains tools for selecting features and editing attribute values by clicking features in the selection tree view. Additional tools are available on the context menu to help you manage the quality of your data as you edit attribute values.


To view and edit attributes in a tabular view for all features on a layer, right-click the layer in the Contents pane on the List By Drawing Order tab List By Drawing Order and click Attribute Table Open Table.

Tables are also an efficient choice for editing or applying field calculations to columns of data.

Attribute rules and domains

Some attribute values you encounter are constrained to values defined by attributes rules, subtype values, or domains.

Attribute rules

Fields managed by attribute rules are limited to values defined by the rule. Specifying a value that breaks the rule displays a notification at the top of the pane showing the rule preventing your changes.

Attribute validation

By default, field values are constrained to values that satisfy predefined criteria. If your workflow requires the ability to override these values, such as domain values, contingent attribute values, or fields that do not allow nulls or empty field values, you can turn attribute validation off.

To find and correct invalid values, filter the current selection of features in the tree view to show only features with invalid attribute values. To do this, right-click the layer in the tree view and click Select Only Invalid Objects Select Only Invalid Features.

Select Only Invalid Objects

Subtypes and attribute domains

Fields defined with subtypes or attribute domains include drop-down lists for choosing and assigning a valid value. When you change a subtype value, you are prompted to apply the default values defined by the new subtype or preserve the existing feature attribute values.

Change Subtype


You can turn the subtype warning off and automatically apply the default values defined by the new subtype.

Field color codes

Fields that perform specific functions are highlighted with a color. The color codes are described in the following table:

Field colorDescription


Subtype field.


Symbolizes the layer.


The field Highlight property is enabled in the attribute table Fields view.

Attribute field color codes

Edit attributes and related records

To edit attributes and related records for a selected feature, expand the selection in the pane, and click the Attributes tab.


If a warning icon Warning appears next to a feature or a table, right-click the item and click Add To Map Add Data.

  1. On the Edit tab, in the Selection group, click Attributes Attributes.
  2. Click Select Select, select the features, and expand the selection in the pane.
    • To update values for all selected features on a specific layer, click the layer name in the pane.
    • To select multiple features and edit the same field with the same value, use the following keyboard shortcut keys:
      • To select multiple features, press Ctrl while clicking the features.
      • To select adjacent features, press Shift while clicking the first and last feature.
  3. Enable or clear Auto Apply.
    • Check Auto Apply to apply your edits automatically when you press Enter.
    • Uncheck Auto Apply to apply your edits when you click Apply. Edited fields are highlighted with a green vertical bar until you apply your changes.
  4. Click the Attributes tab to edit feature attributes and subtypes.

    Attributes tab

    • If the parent feature participates in a relationship class, click the Attributed Relationship tab to edit attributes in the related table.

      Attributed relationships

  5. Click the cell you want to edit, change the value, and press Enter.
    • To change a subtype value, click Choose Symbol Class Add All Values and choose a subtype.
    • To change a date field using the calendar, click the field and click Calendar Calendar. To enter the current date and time, click Today.
    • To set a field that accepts null values to Null, right-click and click Set To '<Null>'.
      Set To '<Null>'
  6. If Auto Apply is turned off, click Apply.
    • To cancel the edited value, click Cancel.

    If you do not apply or cancel your edits for the selected feature before switching the current map or scene, you are prompted to apply or cancel any uncommitted attribute edits.

    Uncommitted attribute edits

Copy attributes between features

To copy all attribute values from one feature to another feature or to all features on an entire layer, use Copy Attributes and Paste Attributes. By default, field values are copied to matching field names and data types on the target layer, or to any applicable fields defined by the current field mapping.


To transfer attributes between features, use the Transfer Attributes tool Transfer Attributes.

  1. On the Edit tab, in the Selection group, click Attributes Attributes.
  2. Click Select Select, select the features, and expand the selection in the pane.
  3. Right-click the feature containing the attributes you want to copy, and click Copy Attributes Copy.
  4. Right-click the target feature or layer, and click Paste Attributes Paste.
  5. If Auto Apply is turned off, click Apply.

Edit contingent attribute values

Contingent attribute values are edited from a list of predefined values that act as loosely constrained lookup fields. A value in one field determines the list of choices in another field participating in the same field group.

The schema for these fields is defined in the source attribute table as field groups and organized in relational hierarchies. To modify this schema, open the attribute table and click the Data tab on the ribbon. In the Design group, click Contingent Values Contingent Values.


The best practice is to start at the top of the value tree and allow the drop-down lists to guide you through the valid choices. For example, a value in a city name field can determine the list of choices for a postal code field. This schema can be extended across multiple fields.

  1. On the Edit tab, in the Selection group, click Attributes Attributes.
  2. In the pane, click Select Select, select the features, and expand the selection in the pane.
  3. Uncheck Auto Apply.
  4. Click the Attributes tab.
    Attributes pane contingent values
  5. Click the feature containing the contingent attribute values you want to edit.
  6. Click the drop-down arrow for the attribute you want to edit.

    Choose a value that is a valid member of the other values in the field group. Incorrect values are highlighted with a vertical yellow bar and a warning appears in the pane. Retired values remain visible and available in the Show All drop-down list.

    • Partial Matches—Hover to show a drop-down menu containing all defined values for the field group. They appear under the field name for which they are correct choices. Choosing a partial match can require further editing of other fields until you create a valid combination of field values.
    • Show All—Show all attribute values available to the field group. This can be useful when you want to change attribute values across all fields. This control appears at the bottom of the drop-down list when you click Show Matches.
    • Show Matches—Show all valid choices for the field based on its parent field value. It is the default setting. This control appears at the top of the drop-down list when you click Show All.
  7. Click Apply to apply your changes.