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Definition Query indicator in Contents Pane

02-14-2023 11:25 PM
Status: Open
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New Contributor III

Layers with active definition queries should have symbol, icon or text next to the display name so you know they are active e.g Layer Name is " Sample Form"  => "Sample Name" (DQ).

Why would this be helpful?  Definition queries are a very useful tool to manage what is being displayed.  However, its easy to forget or not realise (if the data is shared) that a definition query is active. 


I know that the Data tab on the Feature Layer context ribbon will show if the currently selected layer has a definition query on it, but that actually requires you to have the layer selected: if you have a dozen or more layers, that is not an efficient way to determine which layer(s) have definition queries. A simple graphic cue would save so much time and effort. The graphic icons used in AGOL and Portal are great and provide at least some visual information at a glance. This would be a good model to follow in ArcGIS Pro.


Perhaps flag layers with joins, in particular inner joins as well.


1,000x agree. The filter proposed as a solution misses the point that users have outlined in detail and nuance more than enough times.

This is my manual workaround:




I use definition queries frequently to help select a subset of features from large datasets without having to create new layers or export new feature classes. This helps me reduce file clutter and is more flexible for when I need to return to the full dataset or switch to another subset within. However, I sometimes forget if/which datasets have active definition queries on them when I set projects aside for long periods of time. It's important for me to be able to remember whether a definition query is active to know that I may not actually be looking at the full dataset in my Map window. I think it would be very handy to label/mark any layer in the Contents pane differently if it currently has an active definition query. For example, these layers could be marked with an asterisk (*) at the beginning of the layer name or maybe shown in bold or italics to help the author know these layers aren't showing the full dataset currently.


@aretzler thank you for submitting your idea - we've merged it with this existing idea. I understand the request to add some soft of indicator for layers with an active definition query - for now, I wanted to make sure you were aware of the filter functionality in the Contents Pane. This will filter the contents pane to show only layers with active definition queries. You could then mark those layers however you want (* at the beginning; [DQ] at the end; or give the layer a more appropriate name based on what the query is...).




This would be so helpful and save me from myself. So often I'm asked to make an update to an analysis or map I haven't worked in for weeks and it doesn't occur to me to check for definition queries (either by filtering the TOC or checking properties) until I realize my results are not what I expected. It would be so great if there were just a little icon next to layers that have active definition queries.