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Excel like Attribute Table editing and selection

02-07-2011 06:22 AM
Status: Open
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Regular Contributor
Ideas inspired by Excel UI useful for effective work and flexible data manipulation in Attribute Table window:
  • Copy data attributes from selected fields, records or cells easily and Paste them freely to another location in same or different Attribute Table (only copy record possible, no paste).
  • Move or Copy selected attribute values in fields, records or cells by mouse Drag and Drop to other location in the same or different Attribute Table, same or other ArcGIS instance or another application (like Excel, Word).
  • Populate or clear multiple fields, records or cells selected with one keyboard entry at once (no need to use Field Calculator).
  • Improve multiple fields handling: reorder multiple fields, hide/unhide multiple fields, etc.
  • On mouse hover automatically highlight corresponding column and row for better visual orientation.
  • Multiple Cell Selection – select block of cells anywhere in a database with the possibility to cut/copy/paste/move/delete selected block of data, easy populate cells with mouse stroke.
  • Automatically display SUM, Average, etc. values of selected numerical attributes.
  • Provide Start/Stop Editing button on Table window toolbar.
  • Mouse shortcut on cell/record/field to quickly start an Edit Session.
  • Visible and clear indication of ongoing Edit Session in Table window tabs (differentiate edited/non-edited tables with color or font) and inside edited Attribute Tables (small pencil is easily overlooked).
  • Missing text cursor in cell while editing.
  • Enhance field and record selection display – add or subtract selection color in cells where Row Selection and Column Selection intersect. Use color add/subtract also when Field Highlight and Field Selection overlap to see both.
Related idea: Excel like Attribute Table formatting and control
  • display max. and remaining number of characters when editing a cell
  • identify ahead the inability of cell to store different data type as being entered or pasted (not after user confirmation)
It would be great if while editing the attribute table there would be an autocomplete / autofill option similar to the one in Excel: if the value already exists in the column, give the option to autocomplete the value as it's typed.

This function could be optional and ticked on/off at the ArcMap Options window.
I'd love to just be able copy a row from a table back into the same table. Why's it so hard?

> Because Excel is not a database. 

I'm editing this post to replace my flip, kind of not-nice answer above with this:

This seems to happen a lot with ArcGIS, some things are just more complicated than you'd think they would be (like, reordering fields or changing field data type). The reason this is hard is that Esri supports tabular data from many many formats, all of which have their capabilities and limitations, using a single interface. Doing this with a file geodatabase would be pretty straightforward, but would absolutely not work SDE database, especially if it is being edited by someone else at the same time! It is easier to support less functionality across all platforms than have to code around each individual file format.


There is Spreadsheet JS widget. Can be really useful for GeoNet solutions. Support all Excel style features (multiple selection, cells editing, copy/paste and much more).