Problem: The Start Editing option under the Theme menu is disabled


When editing a shapefile in a view, with the shapefile as the active theme, the Start Editing option is grayed out.


It is not possible to edit a 3D shapefile, a shapefile that was converted from a CAD file that contains blocked entities, a multi-point shapefile, or a shapefile with read-only permissions.

Solution or Workaround


  • If the theme is a 3D shapefile or the theme has been converted from a CAD file that contains blocked entities, convert the shapefile to a 2D shapefile and remove the blocked entities. See: Problem: Can't edit shapefiles that were converted from CAD themes
    A 3D shapefile indicates Z or M values in the Shape field of the attribute table, for example PolylineM and PolylineZ.
  • If the theme is a multi-point shapefile, convert it to a point shapefile. ArcView does not come with this functionality; however, it is possible to use Avenue to accomplish this task. It is possible to create code or download a script from the ArcScripts Web site (see Related Information).
  • If the above does not solve this problem, use Windows Explorer to check and change the shapefile's permissions.
    A. Start Windows Explorer.
    B. Navigate to the shapefile
    C. Select the files associated with the shapefile (SHP, DBF, SHX, PRJ, SBN, SBX).
    D. Right-click and select Properties.
    E. Uncheck the Read-Only option.
    F. Click Apply and OK.

Related Information