Geoprocessing tools, selections, and filters

Many geoprocessing tools have parameters that accept feature layers, raster layers, and table views. These parameter types support selections and other filters, including definition queries and time and range filters.

Selections allow you to identify or work with a subset of records. Definition queries and filters allow you to focus on an area of interest in the data.

  • Definition query—Defines a subset of features in a layer. A definition query filters the features retrieved from the dataset by the layer.
  • Time filter—Filters time ranges for a layer.
  • Range filter—Filters numeric data ranges for a layer.

In a map or table, a filter limits the visible records, and selected records appear in a selection color. By default, the selection color is cyan. Both selections and filters limit the records that are processed by a geoprocessing tool.

When adding an input with a selection or filter to a parameter in the Geoprocessing pane, a message indicates the selection or filter and the number of records. The tool processes only those records.

An input with a selection

An input with a definition query

If an input has a selection and a filter, only the selection is described in the message and used by the tool.

If a selection or filter is unexpected and you want to use the entire input, clear the selection, definition query, time filter, or range filter.

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