Adding and connecting files to Features in ArcGIS Desktop

Blog Post created by Yovavzsystematics-co-il-esridist Employee on Feb 2, 2016

Hi there all,

I've briefly summarized the different methods of adding/connecting files to features in the Desktop tools.

The information is concentrated in the following table:




Main PROs

Main CONs

Min. License level

Adding files as Database Attachments

Related Table

No quantity limit for a Feature and the files are saved within the Database

Higher License level and increased database volume


Pointing files with Field-Base Hyperlinks

Text field

Basic License level and database volume remains low

One Hyperlink for Feature per Field


Pointing files with Dynamic (Layer-Base) Hyperlinks

To the Layer

No quantity limit for a Feature and database volume remains low

Hyperlinks are saved only in the mxd/Layer level


Adding Raster files to the attribute table

Raster Field

Basic License level and the files are saved within the Database

One Raster for Feature per Field and increased database volume



Currently, there's a problem with some links in the table due to an issue with the Geonet interface.

You can also connect Folders (of files) in the Field-Base Hyperlinks frame.

Thus, in case you have a Folder for each Feature, that contains all kinds of files, the Hyperlink tool could open the Folder in Windows Explorer.

The Hyperlink should contain the string file:// at the beginning of the folder path.

For example: file://C:\GIS_Data\FEATURE_CLASs_Folder\Feature


Good luck