Cut & Paste Geometry AND ATTRIBUTES!

06-10-2013 10:49 AM
Status: Open
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Occasional Contributor II
Currently it seems that once can use "cut & paste" to quickly move gemoetry from one shapefile / feature class to another.  Unfortunately when this is done, attributes are not transferred, even if the schemas for each feature class are identical.  This can be frustrating if there are literally scores of attribute fields that are assocaited with the geometry that one is hoping to move. 

Currently the COPY & paste functionality allows for the attributes to transfer, but for some reason CUT & paste does not transfer the attributes.  So it seems that this is possible but has been removed for some reason.  I'm fairly certian this was possible in 9.3.

It would be nice to be able to do a CUT & paste operation this so that features could be quickly and cleanly moved from one feature class to another, without having the extra (and often clumsy) step of deleting a feature with identical geometry.

I assume this is done to "idiot proof" for accidental data loss, but come on, ESRI, we're not all idiots...!  I don't mean that to sound snarky, but if we know what we're doing we should be able to do so quickly and cleanly, as we once were.
Possibly I'm not grasping the difficulty, but FYI you might look at the APPEND geoprocessing tool, the simple object loader, or other ways to get around the problem.
The help for Copy Paste explicitly says that Cut and Paste will only transfer geometry and not attributes, so this is a known and expected behavior.  Here is the Note from :

"Using Cut and Paste (rather than Copy and Paste) will only transfer geometry. Attributes are not pasted, even if the source and target layers are the same or have identical schema. The appropriate geodatabase behavior and default or null values will be populated in the target layer."

To me it is desireable to have an option to blank out a feature apart from its geometry in addition to the ability to make a complete copy, since real world workflows do exist that benefit from just preserving geometry.  However, I do agree that your workflow is more likely to apply to most users and this is not a standard behavior of Cut and Paste in other applications.  Therefore this is not something I would expect most users to intuitively anticipate.

Making Cut behave as you expect and then creating a set pf Copy Geometry and Cut Geometry tools that could be added through the customize dialog to support both workflows would be my proposal.  (Copy Geometry would be more useful for most user workflows than Cut Geometry 
in my opinion).
Actually, rather than Copy Geometry and Cut Geometry, it would be more intuitive to have Copy and Cut preserve everything about the record in the clipboard everytime and to create a variety of optional Paste buttons.  This is more similar to Access and Excel which have several Paste options (Paste Values, Formulas, Format, etc.).
You probably want to look into the Load Data option in ArcCatalog, which allows you to specify which fields in the input data go into which output field.
Yes there are other ways and tools like Append etc. but the point is that copy/paste retains attrributes, while cut/paste doesn't, which is inconsistent behavious, so should be resolved.