ArcGIS should allow the ability to permanently reorder fields in a table

04-20-2010 01:33 PM
New Contributor II

After creating a feature class, it would be convenient to go back after data input, and make changes to the field ordering (position).


That's correct. ArcGIS Pro does not change the database field order. I have just confirmed the result.


This topic seems to have a lot of traction lately. It might have been mentioned before that using XRay for ArcCatalog will let you do this. However, use caution because anything with a relationship class will delete the relationship--this includes attachments. The reason; it will create a copy of your table with the reordered fields and then delete the old and rename the new to what the old was. It works great just be mindful of relates.


One other thing to be mindful of, is this method will change all your edit tracking information to the time you do the reorder for all data.  So if tracking is not important to you then this method works.

Just my 2 cents,



Good point, Chase. That could easily be overlooked.


I think I have an answer....

I have been able to permanently reorder and change alias names in ArcGIS by selecting the layer on an open map, selecting properties, then fields.  There is a nifty screen that allows you to move fields up  or down, and change the alias. Of course, saving the map makes the changes stick.

Please check this out...I am a newbie, having worked in ArcGIS for just over a year.  That means I make a zillion more mistakes than most of you!  And I have to figure out how to fix them. I have found this to be very helpful when new data needs to be incorporated into an existing map layer.

Cheers!  And thanks for all the comments across the wide spectrum of GIS....I get a good education from all of you...

I work through a virtual machine on the ArcGIS Desktop, and have no access to Pro. I think I'm happy where I am!


I know that rearranging a layer in Desktop or ArcGIS Pro does nothing to change the field order in the underlying database, but it does work in Desktop in a saved map,  And in Desktop there is a layer property screen that lets me rearrange the fields as well as being able to rearrange the fields in the table view.  So even though I realize that this functionality has nothing to do with the underlying database and does nothing to satisfy this idea, it is nonetheless useful to be able to control field order at the layer and map level in Desktop.

Anyway, I tried to reorder fields in ArcGIS Pro 1.2 similar to what I can currently do in Desktop.  ArcGIS Pro does allow me to reorder the fields in a table view and the fields remain in that order as long as the table view is open.  However, if I close the table view and reopen it all of my field reordering disappears.   As far as I can see, the ArcGIS Pro properties for the layers do not appear to have any field order screen like the one in Desktop, so there does not appear to be a way to save the field arrangement at the layer level and by extension at the Project level in ArcGIS Pro. 

Although this probably needs to be under a separate idea, in my view ArcGIS Pro offers no support for any stable field reordering capabilities that would make it useful as even an equivalent of Desktop's current functionality.  ArcGIS Pro needs to at least offer a way to save the field rearrangements it lets you do within a Project at the layer level so that it is stable when the table view closes and across different ArcGIS Pro sessions, like Desktop supports.


Just curious here - why do folks need this given that fields can be reordered in layer files and MXDs?

I'm not trying to be dismissive or contrary but I do think it's important to show the need for something like this, given that a) it has the potential to affect index values in a way that could negatively impact existing functionality and b) there are already work-arounds described earlier in this thread.


I need it because the field order in the underlying database table is how the fields are ordered by default when I use publish them to a feature service. When I try to use that service in ArcGIS Online and I want to re-arrange the fields to make it easier for editors to fin similar information, the process for reordering those fields for editing is very tedious. I believe it also impacts the field order when editing in Desktop.


Todd Henry

Sr Technical Manager, Real Estate Market Research

345 Court Street l Coraopolis, PA 15108<> l o: 724.273.4026 l m: 412.522.3269



I second Todd's point. The reason field rearrangement is needed at the database level is that it directly affects how fields are displayed in a published ArcGIS Online service. It's possible to waste up to 45 minutes tediously rearranging field orders in ArcGIS Online given more than 20 fields in an attribute table. Securing an order is possible only at the database level, as ArcGIS Online has the conspicuous tendency to rearrange aliases after publishing, seemingly at random.


Re-ordering the fields using the Table View (right-click on the layer, click Design, and Fields) will allow you to save the order in your project. You must save the changes that you make in the Field View for them to stick. This isn't physically re-ordering them in the underlying dbms table, but changing the order in which they are queried when you open the attributes of the layer in your map. This is a little different than ArcMap, but the equivalent functionality is there.