Repair broken data sources for layers and tables

When you open a map or scene, the data referenced by each of the layers is accessed. When the data source has been moved, renamed, deleted, or is otherwise inaccessible, that layer doesn't draw, and its broken status is indicated in the Contents pane with a red exclamation point Repair Broken Data Source. Similarly, if the data source of a stand-alone table is unavailable, the same indicator is shown.

If the referenced data source is inaccessible, you can repair the data source link. Alternatively, if you are not able to repair the link immediately, you can leave the connection broken and continue to work with the map or scene, or you can remove the dataset if it is no longer needed.

If the connection to the data source of a web layer is broken, you cannot repair the data source. Instead, remove the web layer and add the new web layer with an updated data source to the map.


  • If multiple broken links have similar data sources, you can update all the data sources in a project at once. See Update data sources for more information.
  • You can also repair data source links with For more information about automating this with Python, see Updating and fixing data sources.

Repair a broken data source link for a layer or table

To repair a broken data source connection for a layer or stand-alone table, follow these steps:

  1. In the Contents pane of a map, right-click the dataset, and click Properties.
  2. On the Source tab, click Set Data Source.
  3. On the dialog box that appears, browse to the data source, select it, and click OK.

For broken feature layers, the new data source's feature geometry type must match the original data source's feature geometry. Similarly, the XY fields of the new data source must match those in a broken XY event layer, or an error message stating the data source could not be changed is returned.

Repair broken data source links for multiple layers

You may find that several layers in your map need repairing. For example, if a geodatabase containing data sources that are used for multiple layers in your map has been moved or renamed, all these layers must be repaired. You can filter the view of the Contents pane to show only those layers with broken data source links. In the Contents pane, click the Filter button Filter and click Broken data link.

When the repair to the data link is made from the Contents pane, the data source is repaired for the selected layer along with any other broken layers in the map, if it can find their data sources in the same location.

To repair broken data source links for multiple layers, follow these steps:

  1. In the Contents pane of a map, click the red exclamation point button Repair Broken Data Source next to the layer to open the Change data source dialog box.
  2. Browse to the data source, select it, and click OK.

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