Solved! Go to Solution.
For Excel use the Table to Table tool to copy it into your new geodatabase, also in the Conversion toolbox and the Geodatabase toolset.
Use the Add Attribute Index tool under the Data Management toolbox in the Indexes toolset on the Join fields in both the new feature class and the table to optimize the join performance.
Use the Make Feature Layer tool on the converted shapefile feature class. Use the Join tool with that layer as the input layer and the geodatabase table as the join source.
Thanks for the detailed info. I have a bit of a different problem and I think this might help. Does this sound like it would work?
I have a file geodatabase feature class joined with an Excel table and set up in data driven pages. When I try to export selected records to pdf it gives an error. The problem has something to do with the join because it works as soon as I remove the join. I want to try your idea of importing the table to geodatabase to see if that fixes it. I don't want to set up the join all over again each time the Excel table is updated. So I think I would work from ArcCatalog to overwrite the join data with the same name without opening the mxd. Sound good? (This is in 10.0.)
Also is there a difference between the add join from the toolbox, and the add join from right-clicking the layer in the TOC?
That will work if you create a model to do the update. The Add Join is the same, other than one operates in a model and the other is made visible in desktop. If the model ran while the map was closed and afterward the map was open, it should open everything just fine as long as the data sources and file names had not changed.
Cool, thanks. I will give this a try.