How To: Delete the GlobalID column from a feature class


GlobalID columns are used to maintain row uniqueness across geodatabases. This unique identifier column is necessary with certain types of geodatabase replication, such as one and two way for datasets that participate in a replica.

Go to the Global identifiers section of the following URL to read more about the GlobalID column:
Geodatabase field data types


While there is documentation on how to add GlobalID columns and their purpose, there is nothing mentioned about deleting from a dataset. The restriction of deleting GlobalID columns is evident throughout the user interface, in locations where the option to delete this specific column does not exist or is greyed out.

Trying to delete the GlobalID field from the Feature Class Properties Fields tab in ArcCatalog yields the following error message:
"One or more of the selected fields could not be deleted."

The reasoning for this is to protect datasets from having the GlobalID column deleted without fully understanding the consequences of this action. Deleting the GlobalID from a dataset that is part of a replica would invalidate the replica and cause the replica synchronization process to fail.

However, there may be circumstances where a user wants to remove the GlobalID column. For example, if the data is no longer part of a replica or in situations where the output format does not support or recognize the GlobalID column content it may be necessary to remove this prior to completing the operation. Operations could include exporting the feature class contents out to a coverage.

To work around this, delete the GlobalID column programatically using (IClassSchemaEdit3) or from ArcCatalog. Instructions provided describe how to create a copy of the existing feature class without the GlobalID field using ArcCatalog:

This ArcCatalog export method using the feature class to feature class tool should only be attempted with simple data types

  1. Right-click on the feature class, and Export to Geodatabase (single).
  2. Within the Feature Class to Feature Class tool specify all the information for Output Location, Output Feature Class, etc.
  3. Under Field Map, which is an optional step of this tool, make sure to delete the GloblaID field from the target feature class location.

    This creates a new feature class without the GlobalID field that can be used to complete the desired task.

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