Change the settings for raster table building

Last Published: April 25, 2020


The default raster table creation functionality may be inconvenient or undesirable, and there is currently no mechanism in the interface to control this. The Advanced ArcMap Settings sample utility can be used to control raster table creation.

Rasters support persisted tables and virtual tables.

Raster persisted tables are stored in the raster dataset, if the raster format supports it; for example, GRID format stores its table in a .VAT. Other file formats stores a table in their associated .AUX file. Since raster tables are a part of the raster dataset, raster data management such as copy/paste copy the raster table over.

Virtual tables are tables created on the fly in ArcMap by right-clicking the raster layer and selecting 'Open table' and 'Do not persist' in the raster dataset. The size of a virtual table is controlled by a key in the registry settings.

Rasters can be symbolized with a field from a raster table.

Raster tables can be joined from another regular table, for example a raster table can be joined to another table, and then the joined field can be used to symbolize the raster.

Raster tables do not support editing, which means adding a field to a raster table and modifying the values is not allowed.

If a raster has a table, the raster unique value renderer is available by default. If a raster does not have a table, a virtual table limited by the threshold, can be created in ArcMap and use unique a value renderer to display the raster.


Follow the steps below.

  1. Install the Advanced ArcMap Settings tool if it is not already installed.
  2. Run the tool and click on the Raster tab.

    Different options are available for file system based rasters and ArcSDE rasters. The file system based rasters use on-the-fly table building:

    On-The-Fly Raster Table Building

    -- Build table when necessary but do not persist it.
    -- Build table when necessary and persist it.
    -- Do not build table.

    With file based rasters, selecting to build tables and persist them may cause some .IMG raster files with linear bin functions to have some incompatibilities with ERDAS IMAGINE 8.4 and previous releases of that product. If this occurs, IMAGINE 8.4 users can navigate to ImageInfo and recompute the statistics. This eliminates the Unique Value bin function created by ArcGIS and allows the raster to be displayed.

    Rasters in an ArcSDE Geodatabase

    -- Do not build table.
    -- Build table when necessary but do not persist it.

    With ArcSDE rasters, persisting tables associated with raster BLOBs is not supported.

Article ID:000003440

  • ArcMap 8 x

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