ArcGIS Online

5 Tips for Editing Made Easy in Map Viewer

If you edit data in ArcGIS Online, you already know that Map Viewer offers out-of-the-box tools that allow you to do things like update attribute values or add new features to the map. We want to make sure that you’re aware of the latest capabilities you can take advantage of to make editing and managing data online even easier. In this article, we’ll explore five tips you can use right away to improve your editing experience in Map Viewer.

  1. Manage Editability at the Map Level
  2. Create Views
  3. Author Forms
  4. Save Forms
  5. Save Group Layers
Make editing easier through the use of forms, views, group layer, & more

Tip 1: Manage Layer Edibility at the Map Level

As a data manager, you enable editing for a layer on the Settings tab of the Layer’s Item Details page. But did you know that you can control editability for layers at the map level?  For each editable layer in a map, you can choose whether to alllow or disable editing for that layer in that map. This is especially useful when your map includes editable layers that you want to use to provide context, like roads or addresses, but you don’t want map users to edit those layers.

To manage editability for a layer in Map Viewer, follow these steps:

  1. Click to select the layer.
  2. The Properties panel opens in the pane on the right side of the screen.
  3. Scroll down to the Editing section in the Properties panel.
  4. Use the toggle switch to enable or disable editing for the selected layer.
  5. If the switch is turned on, editing is enabled for the layer. If the switch is turned off, editing is disabled.

Note: Disabling editing in the map doesn’t affect the editing settings for the layer itself, the settings only apply to that particular map.

Toggle to enable or disable editing in the map.

Tip 2: Create Views for More Flexibility

Data can serve many purposes. In some cases, you create a dataset for editing, while in other cases, you simply want people to view or interact with data on a map. There could be times when you want the same dataset to do both. That’s when you can use Hosted Feature Layer Views, aka views.

Using views gives you options, allowing you to create separate views of the same layer for different purposes. For example, you can create a public-facing dashboard for viewing data (using a view that’s not editable), and create a separate map for editing (using an editable view). Both views point to the same layer, so there is no need to reconcile edits or manage multiple versions of the same dataset, making your workflows easier.

Create Views on the Layer's Item Details page

When creating views, you define the sharing level and editing settings independently from those of the hosted feature layer. You create View Layers on the layer’s Item Details page. Check out this blog post for a detailed guide to creating views.

Tip 3: Author Forms for Intuitive Editing Workflows

A form that has been tailored to fit specific workflows can help make editing data easier and more efficient. Field Maps Designer is well-known for its user-friendly form authoring experience, aka Form builder. What you may not know is that Form builder is also baked right into Map Viewer.

You can customize forms as much or as little as you like. You can choose which fields to show and place them in order, format fields, provide hints, and choose from different input types like combo boxes or radio buttons. You can define expressions that control the visibility, requirement, and editability of fields based on the values entered in other fields. You can even use Arcade expressions to perform calculations on fields or to automatically populate fields. Taking the time to author a form can help ensure that the necessary fields are presented and logically organized, and reduce the time and effort required for data collection. Simply put, a well-designed form can make editing easier.

To get started creating your own custom forms in Map Viewer, follow these steps:

  1. Select your editable layer in the Table of Contents.
  2. Click on Forms Forms located on the Settings (light) toolbar.
  3. Form Builder opens in a new window where you can customize the form for your layer.
Create forms in Form builder for easier data editing.

Check out these previous blog articles for inspiration for creating your own custom forms:

Tip 4: Save and Reuse Forms

When you author a form in a map and save the map, the form is saved within the map. What if you plan to use the same layer in a different map…can you use the form you already created as well? Yes, you can. When you save the layer, the form you created is preserved with the layer. When you add that saved layer to a new or existing map, the form is ready to go, saving you valuable time.

Save a layer after you author a form in order to reuse both.

To save a layer,

  1. Click the Options menu (3 dots) next to the Layer name.
  2. From the drop down menu, click Save or Save as -depending on your needs.
  3. The layer will be saved along with all the properties you configured in the map, such as forms, pop-ups, labels, and symbology.

Tip 5: Save and Reuse Group Layers

When you manage a project with multiple maps, they sometimes require the same set of layers. In an editing workflow, you could have a set of editable layers that go well with reference layers that provide context. Now you can preserve a set of layers that work well together as a Group Layer. Yup, that’s a thing. As of the October 2023 update, you can create, save, and reuse your own Group Layers.

Save Group Layers to streamline map creation and data editing.

When you save a Group Layer, it preserves the properties you configured on each layer in the group, including: forms, pop-ups, symbols, and editing settings. Everything is in place when you add the Group Layer to new or existing maps. This can save you loads of time when creating new maps using the same set of layers.

Check out this blog article to learn more about saving and using Group Layers:


You can easily edit data in Map Viewer using out-of-the-box tools you may already be familiar with. In this article, we highlighted five tips to improve the editing experience in Map Viewer: managing layer editability at the map level, creating views for flexibility, authoring forms for intuitive editing workflows, saving and reusing forms, and saving and reusing group layers. We hope the time-saving tips we explored help you create more streamlined editing workflows, making editing in Map Viewer even easier. Be sure to join the conversation on ESRI Community to share your own thoughts, tips, or experiences.

About the author

Emily is a senior product engineer on the ArcGIS Online team. She joined Esri in 2022, bringing expertise in mapping, app creation, and data management. Emily is passionate about the outdoors, nature, and hiking. She often seeks refuge in wild areas and acoustic guitars.


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