Adding raster datasets as attributes in a feature class

A geodatabase feature class or table can have an attribute field that contains a raster dataset. Unlike a hyperlink that simply links a feature to an image, an attribute field of type Raster stores the raster data within the geodatabase. For example, you could add a photograph of the commercial property as an attribute of a parcel feature.


A shapefile cannot contain an attribute field to hold raster datasets. In this case, you need to use a hyperlink.

The following are the general steps to add a raster dataset to a field within a feature class:

  1. Add a field of type Raster to the attribute table.
  2. Edit the field to insert the raster dataset.

All supported raster dataset formats are available, but it is recommended that only small pictures are used for this field. Only one field of type Raster can be used in each table. To associate more than one raster to a feature, you will need to use another table with related fields.


Adding or modifying fields of type Raster in an enterprise geodatabase requires an ArcGIS Pro Standard or ArcGIS Pro Advanced license.

Add a field of type Raster

  1. In the Contents pane, right-click on the feature class and click Attribute Table.

    The attribute table for the feature class opens.

  2. In the attribute table, click the Add Field button.

    This opens the Fields view and the Fields tab. The Fields view is used to manage the fields associated with a layer or table. Within this view you can make edits to a layer or table's fields, modify their properties, delete fields, or create new ones.

  3. Set Data Type to Raster.
  4. Optionally, you can give the field an alias.
  5. On the Fields tab, click Save.
  6. Close the Fields view.

Update the Raster field

  1. Add the feature class containing the Raster field.
  2. Select the feature to add the raster to.

    You can use the interactive Select tool or select the record in the attribute table.

  3. On the Map tab, click on the Attributes button.
  4. In the Attributes pane, click the Load Content button for the Raster field.

    The Load Raster Data dialog box opens.

  5. Browse to the raster that you want to add.
  6. Optionally, set Compression Type and Compression Quality.
  7. Click Apply.
  8. You can remove the raster from the field using the Clear Content button.
  9. Save the edits to the feature class. This can be done from the Manage Edits group in the Edit tab, consistent with other types of edits made to the feature class such as adding new fields and adding new features.
  10. On closing ArcGIS Pro, if there are unsaved edits, a prompt appears asking if the edits need to be saved.

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