Feature names in the Identify dialog box are empty or contain unexpected values

Last Published: April 25, 2020


The left panel of the ArcMap Identify dialog box consists of a tree view showing you information about the identified features. The name of each feature in this tree view may be an empty string or unexpected value.


The feature names in the Identify dialog box are taken from the primary display field for each layer.


1) If no primary display field is designated for the layer, then the feature name will be blank.

2) If the primary display field is empty for a given feature, then the name that appears in the Identify dialog box will either be blank or be taken from the first available, nonempty text field in the table.

3) If there is no nonempty value for any text field, a value from the first, nonempty numerical field in the table may be used.

4) The primary display field for a related table is not recognized by the Identify dialog box.

Solution or Workaround

The Identify dialog box is most useful if you specify a meaningful primary display field for each layer:

A) In the ArcMap table of contents, right-click on a layer and click Properties.

B) In the Layer Properties dialog box, click the Fields tab.

C) Specify a primary display field using the pulldown menu.

D) Click OK to apply your changes.

Records from a related table are listed by their ObjectID regardless of a primary field designation.

Article ID:000002792

  • ArcMap 8 x

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