How do I permanantly re-arrange the fields in an attribute table?

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07-11-2016 09:47 AM
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New Contributor III

I have many similar layers I want to have the exact table schemas.  So I need to re-arrange some of the fields so that they all match.

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Occasional Contributor II

Sorry, Eric, there is no tool in ArcGIS to permanently re-order fields. Although it has been much requested, I understand there are some technical difficulties in maintaining integrity with relationship classes, networks, etc.

There are some workarounds, depending on how much data you have and any dependencies between feature classes.  There does not seem to be a way without creating a new feature class. If you have stand-alone feature classes, you could create an empty template feature class in a file geodatabase that has the fields in the order that you desire, and then make one copy for each feature class you want to rearrange.  Then you can load your existing data into the new classes.

About loading data into existing feature classes and tables—ArcGIS Help | ArcGIS for Desktop  I believe there is also to a way to "rebuild" any relationships if you have relationship classes.

A third party app, ET GeoWizards, will reorder shapefiles.  It will create a new shapefile (with a different name).  Some of the ET GeoWizard capabilities are not free, but the reorder fields is free.

Hope that helps,

Cheryl

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MVP Frequent Contributor

If you want to modify your existing fields, one way is to run the Alter Field Geoprocessing Tool.  How extensively you can alter them depends on what version of the software you have.  Newer versions of the software allow many field properties to be changed.

ArcGIS Help (10.2, 10.2.1, and 10.2.2)

Alter Field—Data Management toolbox | ArcGIS for Desktop

Chris Donohue, GISP

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New Contributor III

If I have the fields in my attribute table numbered (right to left) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.  How would I go about making the sequence 1, 3, 4, 2, 5 ??

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Occasional Contributor II

Sorry, Eric, there is no tool in ArcGIS to permanently re-order fields. Although it has been much requested, I understand there are some technical difficulties in maintaining integrity with relationship classes, networks, etc.

There are some workarounds, depending on how much data you have and any dependencies between feature classes.  There does not seem to be a way without creating a new feature class. If you have stand-alone feature classes, you could create an empty template feature class in a file geodatabase that has the fields in the order that you desire, and then make one copy for each feature class you want to rearrange.  Then you can load your existing data into the new classes.

About loading data into existing feature classes and tables—ArcGIS Help | ArcGIS for Desktop  I believe there is also to a way to "rebuild" any relationships if you have relationship classes.

A third party app, ET GeoWizards, will reorder shapefiles.  It will create a new shapefile (with a different name).  Some of the ET GeoWizard capabilities are not free, but the reorder fields is free.

Hope that helps,

Cheryl

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New Contributor III

Worked like a champ!!!  Thank you, Cheryl....

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MVP Frequent Contributor

I second what Cheryl Trine said - there is currently no way to reorder fields.  This has been a recurring question for many years, but the experts at ESRI say a solution is not as straight-forward as it seems like it should be.

Chris Donohue, GISP

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

Chris... I think the vast majority just want to be able to reorder simple table fields... a table with no dependencies, like a shapefile table or a simple featureclass table.  I am sure that that would not be a huge issue, with the caveat that a new file would be created so as not to corrupt the old.

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Honored Contributor

It appears that we are left with one option: to use the “feature class to feature class” tool that allow rearranging the fields but again this ends up with new feature class