So I attempted to copy paste a shapefile, then edit the resulting copy, changing the name and changing around some of the data contained within it. To my surprise, I realized the next day (after I had saved everything...) that my changes to the copy had been reflected in the original as well. I cannot reverse this, but I would at least like to know what I did wrong!
Did you maybe accidentally do your edits on the original shapefile? There is no relationship between two shapefiles that you have copied, so the issue must have happened when you decided which shapefile to edit within an mxd.
That seems very probable. But if there is no relationship between two shapefiles that have been copied, why should my edits show up in both shapefiles even if I accidentally edited the orginal?
Thanks for the help Tim
This could be the scenario.
When you created the copy of the shapefile, it must have got added to your ArcMap. You started editing (without removing the original shp). Since both the layers were identical, you might not have realized it. And since both were editable, the original data also got edited along with the copied data.
Thanks for the help. If I'm understanding you correctly, that explains things quite well. The copied shapefile is only found in the Arcmap that I was working on at the time and I can't find the data anywhere. The data of the original still exists but of course includes the changes I made to the copy