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 has been making maps since she was an undergraduate student. She has a Bachelors in Geography and Spanish from Valparaiso University, a Masters in Geography from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in Geography from Oregon State University. She is a senior product engineer on the Living Atlas team, and her work focuses on determining and sharing best practices for mapping and analysis with modern GIS. She publishes and presents world-wide on many aspects of mapping and GIS. She is a co-author of Map Use: Reading, Analysis, Interpretation, and she is a co-editor for the Atlas of Oregon. Aileen is a former president of CaGIS (the U.S. cartographic association) and is actively involved with the International Cartographic Association in which she is the lead delegate for the United States.


Next Article

When are expert sources right for your story?

Read this article