How to change field order in geodatabase - one solution

Blog Post created by tminterWork on May 13, 2016

Changing the order of fields in an existing geodatabase feature class or table has been challenging since the early days of ArcGIS - ArcMap and ArcCatalog.  Without bothering to dig up all of the historical references, blog posts, issue reports, bug reports, great idea postings, workarounds, previous methods and tools, etc, I point at one simple solution to this 16 year old problem (it's old enough to drive in most US states).


  1. Purchase and install Sparx Enterprise Architect (EA) version 12.x or higher, Professional edition or higher, floating or single use license.
  2. ArcMap:  export your disorderly geodatabase as a Workspace XML
  3. EA:
    • Tools > Options > Objects > uncheck "Sort Features Alphabetically" > Close
    • File > New Project > name it > Model Wizard > click "Geospatial" > check the "ArcGIS Workspace" box > OK
    • Extensions > ArcGIS > Import ArcGIS Workspace XML
    • double-click the "Workspace" object in the project browser to open a graphic view of your geodatabase schema
    • find the disorderly table or feature class graphic
    • left-click any of the fields in the table or feature class graphic to select it
    • right-click the selected field > View Properties...
    • right-click the field that you want to be in a different order and choose "Move up" or "Move down" as pleases you
    • Close the field properties viewer
    • Extensions > ArcGIS > Export ArcGIS Workspace XML
  4. ArcMap:
    • import your orderly schema from your Workspace XML into your geodatabase
    • load your data into your new schema
    • breathe, sigh, rejoice...  move along


That's it.  That's all I got.


Happy Friday,