How to extend attribute table field size from 255 characters

Question: Hi!

I have a polygon layer, and I joined an Excel spreadsheet to this. I’ve checked the success of the join, and I saw that the joined field sizes are reduced to 255 characters. Excel can store 32k chars in a field, but I only have 300-400 chars. I need to query datas in ArcGIS, and the 255 character limit isn’t good for me.

I tested an another method: I created an FGDB, and made a relationship class between the imported excel spreadsheet and the polygon layer. My problem is that, the fields are reduced again, showing only 255 chars.

Any ideas?

Answer: You can create text fields greater than 255 characters using file geodatabases. First, create a new file geodatabase then create a new feature class. Add a text field as part of the creation of the new feature class and specify the length of text strings should be 400 (or whatever the maximum is that you require). Then, using your original layer, convert labels to annotation and choose to append them to an existing feature class (the one created above).  Export the attribute table of the feature class and you can then copy the labels from your spreadsheet into the text field of your attribute table in Excel, save the resulting table and then Join back to the feature class.

Formerly a Mapping Center Ask a Cartographer  Q & A.

About the author

Dr. Aileen Buckley is a cartographer who’s been at Esri since 2003. She finds and shares best practices for mapping and analysis with ArcGIS, which leads her to publish widely and present world-wide.


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