Coded value domain descriptions are not maintained after exporting data

Last Published: April 25, 2020


When exporting the table of a feature class with coded value domain descriptions in ArcMap, the coded value is displayed instead of the descriptions.



This is a known limitation. ArcGIS, by default, exports domain codes instead of domain descriptions.

Solution or Workaround

Select one of the solutions shown below. Option A allows the particular table to display the coded value domain descriptions, whereas Option B allows all tables exported to display the coded value domain descriptions. Option C can be used to display both coded domain values and descriptions.

Option A

  1. Open the exported table.
  2. Click Table Options > Appearance.
  3. Check the Display coded value domain and subtype descriptions check box.
    The coded value domain descriptions are displayed.

Option B

Change the Environment settings, and use the Table to Table tool.

  1. Click the Geoprocessing menu > Environments. This opens the Environment Settings window.
  2. Click Fields, and check the Transfer field domain descriptions check box. Click OK.


  1. Navigate to Conversion Tools in the Catalog window > To Geodatabase > Table to Table.
  2. Select a table as the input, and specify the output location and the name of the output table. Click OK.

Option C

  1. Use the Domain to Table tool to export the domain and domain descriptions.
  2. Join the table to the source feature class.
  3. Export the joined table to a shapefile.
Option C adds a new field for domain descriptions. For more information on exporting a feature class to a shapefile containing domain descriptions instead of domain codes, refer to the following article, HowTo: Export a feature class to a shapefile that contains domain descriptions instead of domain codes.

Article ID:000012593

  • ArcMap

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