Re-establish the relationship class for geodatabase attachments

Last Published: July 17, 2020


When enabling attachments for a particular geodatabase feature class, a relationship class is automatically created to maintain the link between each feature and its associated attachment stored in the attachments table. In the event the relationship class is inadvertently deleted, it is not possible to simply build a relationship class between the attachments table and its feature class, while re-enabling the attachment's functionality. Therefore, a workflow is required to re-establish the relationship as well as enable attachments, so that attachments can be added and existing attachments accessed via the Attachment Manager.

This article provides instructions to enable and re-establish the relationships between the geodatabase feature classes and its related attachments.


  1. In the Catalog window of ArcMap, create a copy of the feature class used to establish the original attachments relationship class, and paste it to the same geodatabase.
Image showing the copy of the feature class
The copied feature class is renamed with '_1' at the end of the name. 
  1. Right-click the _1 feature class, click Manage, and click Create Attachments.
Image of the Create Attachments option.
The _1_ATTACH table along with a new relationship class is automatically created. 
  1. Right-click the _1_ATTACH table, and click Load > Load Data.
  2. Click Next, and use the input data file browser to navigate to and select the original ATTACH table. Click Open and Add.
Image showing the ATTACH table
  1. Continue clicking Next through the remaining dialogs of the wizard, and click Finish.
  2. Add the _1 feature class into the map document.
  3. Right-click the _1 layer in Table Of Contents, and click Edit Features > Start Editing.
  4. Click a feature that has an attachment, and open the Attributes window.
  5. Click the Open Attachment Manager drop-down and note that the attachments are listed.
Image of the attachments.

Article ID:000011515

  • ArcMap

Receive notifications and find solutions for new or common issues

Get summarized answers and video solutions from our new AI chatbot.

Download the Esri Support App

Related Information

Discover more on this topic

Get help from ArcGIS experts

Contact technical support

Download the Esri Support App

Go to download options