How to edit a .dbf file which is connected with a shape file?

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04-12-2011 10:15 AM
AzeeFarooq
New Contributor
I can edit it in ArcMap but I can only add columns one by one and cannot copy from excel to attribute table.
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RodneyNielson1
New Contributor III
Hi, you can add fields in the properties, in ArcCatlaog.
Alternatively, if you're game, make a copy of your shapefile, then open the .dbf table and save it as an Excel spreadsheet. Cut and paste and add what you need to your table, making sure you adjust the field types in Excel and save as Excel. then Save as .dbf using the same name as the dbf table in your shapefile and replace the original one.
If this doesn't work, you can always go back to your copy.

But ... ALWAYS make a copy first ...
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PatrickMurphy
Occasional Contributor
There is no save as dbf in Excel 2010.  Now what?
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AntonioLocandro1
New Contributor III
I wouldn't recommend editing .dbf outside ARCGIS, I used to do this in my last job and it corrupted data in many ways, we used to sort the dbf from A-Z only to find after that this changed the ARCGIS shapefile. It can be tedious work but I would actually go for the ArcCatalog method.
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KrupaliVijaykar
New Contributor
You can open the .dbf file usinf Excel, make changes & save as an excel file (.xls)
Then open Microsoft Access. In access, u can import an excel sheet.. once this is done use export option & export as .dbf file.

Replace your original .dbf file, with the newly created .dbf file...

I believe, this should work.

Regards,
Krupali
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TrishRice
Occasional Contributor III
I believe you can also use the Join and Join Field tools to add fields from an Excel file.
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JohnSobetzer
Regular Contributor III
Possible options for Excel 2010 to save as dbf include:

1. When installing it on an existing machine, keep the 2003 version as well.  They seem to work together just fine.  I know this is an option with a site license, it comes up in the install process making it relatively easy to do.
2. Buy and install the SaveAsDBF add in.  Third party; I don't know how good it is.  See http://thexlwiz.blogspot.com/
3. Check this out from Microsoft's support pages for a VBA method: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/office_2007-customize/save-as-dbf-in-excel-2007/1a4c....
4. Use Access as suggested to convert the xlsx into a dbf.

An easier solution is to install and use the spreadsheet program in Libre Office or Open Office for dbfs.  Both are free open source office suites.

One should never sort or mess with any shape or index field when editing a dbf of a shapefile.  We make copies of the shapefile, and edit the dbf in one of them and test the result before making it the current one.  Excel is not a good way to add text fields, however, unless you don't mind having them 254 wide.  We add the field first in ArcMap and then populate the fields in Excel.
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JonathanQuinn
Esri Frequent Contributor
As tonylocandro mentioned, it is not recommended or advised to edit a dbf of a shapefile outside of ArcMap, as it is easy to corrupt data.  As for saving an Excel sheet as a dbf, in the Catalog window in ArcMap or ArcCatalog, expand the excel sheet to bring up the individual pages.  Then, right click on it > Export > to dBase (single).  This will allow you to save the Excel sheet as a dbf.
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