Field is being read as a text string when it is numeric

09-18-2017 08:04 AM
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New Contributor

Using ArcMap 10.5.1

I'm new to ArcMap and I imported a table into my map and then displayed the XY data. I am using proportional symbology to represent the error within the data and it worked smoothly for every data set (I have error represented in a field with a number indicating meters) but two of my sets (whose source data is identically formatted to all of the others) read my error field as a text string. It is literally a number with no text in the field (save the field header) and when I go to change it the box is grayed out, indicating it can't be changed. Is this a new user error on my part, or something others have run into?

Thank you for your help.

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5 Replies
MVP Esteemed Contributor

If the field in the featureclass table is left-justified, it is being treated as text, regardless of they are numbers or not.

To ensure numbers, explicitly format in the originating program to ensure that only numbers can go into a column.

A space in a record for a column will translate the whole column to text

Try not to use a spreadsheet unless you have read the help documentation on using Excel

New Contributor

Thanks for the help. Attempting this fix now. I was given basic lessons and I was taught to use Excel. I didn't realize it wasn't the optimal file type to use.

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MVP Honored Contributor

Could you attach a sample of the concerned XY table?

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Frequent Contributor II

When you imported the table it automatically made it a STRING field.

As a workaround you can create a new COLUMN and make it a LONG INTEGER,   then populate it with the original field.

MVP Esteemed Contributor

As Robert Borchert‌ suggests, add a new column as a long int type.  Using the field calculator set to python, calc the NewColumn = int(!orginal_field!)

can't wait to retire....
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