Definition Query Icon in Table of Contents

07-16-2014 02:11 PM
Status: Closed
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New Contributor III

When you set a definition query on a layer in ArcMap, it would be nice to have some cue to let you know that not all of the records in the layer is showing (due to the query).  Something akin to the exclamation point when the link to the data is broken. 



Chiming in... a defn query indicator would be great!  That is one reason why I rarely use them - instead I subset the data layer and create a new feature class.  It gets cluttered, but otherwise it causes confusion esp with other users. 

@Marie_Ducharme - would you be willing to share your workaround where you were able to add an asterix?  


Agree with rburke-bsrc - please reopen this idea.



As discussed today at the Pro island. Already an idea, now we have gp tools warning us, would welcome a flag for active def qry in the ToC.

Thanks, Craig. 


@KoryKramer  @AmeliaBradshaw  wondering if you've considered reopening the idea given the commentary and continued user interest. Thanks.


@KoryKramer  @AmeliaBradshaw  I second rburke comment above. Please consider re-opening this idea.


Another useful application - I have a layer from Living Atlas that I've applied a definition query to. Today, I went to look at the layer and noticed it wasn't appearing on the map. I couldn't figure out why; checked symbology, transparency, blend modes - but ultimately it was the definition query. The fields had changed in the source layer, and my query was no longer functioning, but the application provided no indication of this until I opened up the layer properties:


If the application is smart enough to know that a query references missing fields (or is otherwise broken - it shows an X), why bury that information? It could save people time in circumstances like this. It could also prevent errors - someone could easily open this map, export a copy, and publish it without realizing that a layer they or someone else set up is not showing. An in-line indicator could use the same symbols as the definition query builder box (green check - red x - empty).

I envision more of a table layout in the TOC (it's more of a list at the moment) where users could turn this column of the TOC on and off along with other indicator/toggle columns for other things like selectability, snapping, joins, labeling, and the other things mentioned previously in this thread. Similar to turning columns on/off in Windows File Explorer - pick what you want and away you go. Right now, some of these things have their own view in the TOC but it's real inconvenient to have to switch tabs for each individual task, and then context menu items are inconsistent from view-to-view. Again, Adobe's approach to the layers panel across its apps is really efficient and easy to use, so I wish Esri would focus more on improving the UI for everyday use rather than adding more bloat.


Now that I see the Filter option in the TOC which allows you to display only layers that have Active Definition Queries, I can work with that.

That being said, I think a super simple, subtle way of indicating a layer has an Active DQ would be to just add a chip to far right of the TOC pane, like below. And if you hover over it could tell you what it means.

Active DQ indicator chipActive DQ indicator chip


Hover pop-up gives contextHover pop-up gives context

 The reason this is important is in a multi-user environment. You might have a colleague (or yourself 2 weeks ago!) that comes into a Map to do some work, adds a definition query, and you don't know that. You come back into the Map weeks later and decide Share it to some static output (e.g. Map File) assuming the layer is displayed in full.

Without a chip or something indicating that a layer has a DQ applied to it, you wouldn't notice it until downstream (customer, client, colleague).

Another option is to add the "Filter Applied" warning to every single output process (i.e. Layout Export to PDF, Share as Web Layer). But I feel this chip in the TOC would be a fair compromise without having to add the warning to a whole bunch of other tools.



When I filter a layer and save the the project, then when I open the project after sometimes, I forgot that I filtered the layer, I have to check that the filtered or not.


My suggestion to fix this, is simply add a badge to the layer name on the content pane, so when the user looks at the layer, he notices that the layer is filtered.


This is a duplicate of this idea:

Definition Query Icon in Table of Contents - Esri Community


It's currently closed, but there is a lot of discussion going on. Be sure to look through the dicussion to see an explanation of why this is currently not implemented.


In the meantime, there is a filter for the table of contents:






This fine, but it is not convenient way to do it. 

QGIS implemented this feature perfectly, a small label with the layer name is very straightforward and easy to recognize.