Frequently asked question

Should I be concerned about precision and scale settings when creating a new field in my attribute table?

Last Published: February 23, 2021


This article pertains to retired ArcGIS versions 8.x and 9.x. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.

When creating a new field, ArcCatalog may ask to specify a type, precision, and scale. Precision describes the number of digits that can be stored in the field, while scale describes the number of decimal places. The field type may change depending on the precision and scale values specified.

When creating a float, double, or integer field and specifying zero for precision and scale, the geodatabase attempts to create a binary type field, if the underlying database supports it. ArcGIS ignores precision and scale of binary type fields.

Depending on the precision and scale setting selected, ArcGIS may convert the field into another type. If creating a double field and specifying a precision of six or less, a float field is created. If creating a float field and specifying a precision greater than six, a double field is created. If specifying an integer field with a precision of ten or more, a double field is created. 

Article ID:000004485

  • ArcMap 9 x
  • ArcMap 8 x

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