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How To: Add multiple documents as attachments to a feature class

Summary

Attachments allow users to associate multiple files to a feature, store the attached files in the geodatabase, and access the files in many ways.
Attachments can be PDF files, images, text documents, videos, or many other types of files.

The following are a few examples of scenarios where attachments are used:

• Attaching picture files to geographic features that represent conditions at a specific time
• Attaching HTML documents to table records
• Attaching reports or graphs that provide additional information about features (for example, a profile graph created by a line-of-sight analysis for a waypoint or track)

Instructions provided describe how to add multiple attachments to a feature class using the Generate Attachment Match Table tool and the Add Attachments tool in ArcMap.

Note:
To attach documents to a feature class, it is necessary to create a match table, please see the Related Information section below.

Procedure

Note:
The tools in the Attachments toolset require an ArcGIS for Desktop Standard or Advanced license.

  1. Ensure a field that has common values with the features, such as an Object ID, has been set between both the dataset and the match table.
  2. Enable attachments on the feature classes or tables: right-click the feature class in ArcCatalog and select Manage > Create Attachments. This creates an attachment table. For more information, please refer to the following ArcGIS Web Help topic: Enabling attachments.
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    Note:
    Attachments must be enabled on the feature classes or tables before the documents are attached.

  3. Click the Editor menu on the Editor toolbar and click Start Editing.
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    Note:
    An edit session must be started before the attachment is added.

  4. In ArcToolbox, click Data Management Tools > Attachments > Generate Attachment Match Table.
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  5. In the Generate Attachment Match Table dialog box, select the tables for Input Dataset and Output Match Table, and set the Key Field according to the field in the dataset that contains the matching attachment values.
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    Note:
    For the Generate Attachment Match Table tool input parameters, please refer to the following ArcGIS Web Help topic: Generate Attachment Match Table (Data Management).

  6. Click OK. The match table is displayed in the Table of Contents.
  7. To join the attachments to the features, return to ArcToolbox and click Data Management Tools > Attachments > Add Attachments.
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  8. In the Add Attachment dialog box, select the attachment table created in Step 1 as Input Dataset and the newly created match table as Match Table. As for Input Join Field, select the field that has common values with the features, and click OK.
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    Note:
    For the Add Attachments tool input parameters, please refer to the following ArcGIS Web Help topic: Add Attachments (Data Management).


    Running the Identify tool after performing Add Attachments on a feature in the dataset allows the attachment to be opened with the Clip button on the Identify window. When the Clip button is clicked, a dropdown menu appears, showing attachments that exist for the feature.

Related Information