Copy and paste properties between layers or tables

You can copy layer properties from one layer and paste them to another (or from one stand-alone table to another table) in a map or between maps in a project. This can help you maintain consistency between items or adhere to organizational guidelines.

Understanding layer and table properties

A layer (or table) property controls the visualization, function, or definition of the layer or table. Visual properties such as symbology and transparency, and others including custom queries and filters, label class properties, and elevation information can be copied between layers or tables.

Copying properties between layers or tables can help you adhere to schemas or other requirements. For example, if you have several street polyline feature layers that follow the same schema but are from different data sources, you can configure one feature layer and copy its properties to the other feature layers, rather than configuring each layer manually.

When you copy properties from a source layer to a target layer, a notification message indicates when the properties are successfully pasted. If the target layer is not the same type as the source layer, an error message indicates that the copy process can't be completed.

Copy properties

To copy properties from one layer to another, or one table to another, complete the following steps:

  1. In an open map, in the Contents pane, choose the source layer or table that contains the properties you want to copy.
  2. On the Map tab, in the Clipboard group, click Copy Copy.

    This copies the layer or table, as well as its properties.

  3. In the Contents pane, click the target layer or table to select it.
  4. On the Map tab, in the Clipboard group, click the Paste drop-down menu, and choose Paste Properties Paste Properties.

Limitations and considerations

Consider the following when planning to copy properties between layers or tables:

  • You cannot copy properties between layers of different geometry types. For example, you cannot copy the properties of a polyline feature layer to a point feature layer or a multipatch layer to a polygon layer.
  • You cannot copy properties when multiple items are copied to the clipboard. An error may occur if a layer and a table are copied simultaneously.
  • You cannot choose individual properties to copy. When the target layer has different attributes than the source, the properties are still copied.
  • Properties that define the layer's identity—such as its name, data source, and metadata—are not copied.
  • You cannot copy properties to more than one layer or table at a time.

The following are properties for applicable types of layers and stand-alone tables that are never overwritten. If a property is not listed below, it supports copying and pasting properties. Review the data type's documentation for further information.

  • Item name
  • URI path
  • Visibility status in the Contents pane
  • Metadata
  • Data connections and data source
  • Selected features and records
  • Table definitions (subtype layers only)


Review layers and tables for unintentional changes after copying properties to ensure valid configurations. For example, if a field used for a definition query in the source layer does not exist in the target layer, it is successfully copied, but the definition query in the target layer may not function as expected.

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