Spring 2011 Edition
This article as a PDF.
ArcGIS 10 introduces a new, flexible way to manage additional information related to features on a map. Attachments can store multiple supporting files, such as images, PDFs, or text documents, in a geodatabase and make them accessible through map features.
Attachments can be viewed in several ways: from the Identify window, in the attribute table window, and as HTML pop-ups as well as in the Attributes window while creating and editing an attachment.
Because the link from the feature to its attachments is maintained in a relationship class, an ArcEditor or ArcInfo license is needed to create attachments. However, any license level can view attachments.
Creating attachments is straightforward; ArcGIS handles the details. The first step is enabling attachments for a feature class. This prompts ArcGIS to create a new table to contain the attachments and a new relationship class to manage them.
HTML pop-ups are a useful way to view multiple attachments for a feature at the same time. They work not only in ArcGIS Desktop but also in web applications, ArcGIS Explorer, or ArcReader.
Attachments offer an easier way to link several files with a feature. Because the location of the files is managed by the geodatabase, if the geodatabase is shared through a layer or map package, the attachments are automatically included.