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Is it possible to create a thematic map in ArcGIS on a calculated field, without changing the DBF file of the SHP file? I know I can do it in MapInfo, but have searched without much luck in ArcGIS.

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do you want the field to be live to your data and reflect changes instantly? –  Matthew Snape Jan 31 '12 at 19:48
    
It is a MXD document I try to setup, so it can show a map based upon the SHP file. The same field is used for other thematic maps too, so changing the field itself isn't an option. –  Uffe Kousgaard Jan 31 '12 at 21:38
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I do not think so. You will need to either copy the data or create a field then delete it after.

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...or else calculate a field into a separate table and join that table to the shapefile's attribute table. –  whuber Jan 31 '12 at 20:59
    
yep, that is also a good way to do it. –  Jamie Jan 31 '12 at 21:14
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When you calculate a particular field it's overwriting its content so there is no question of calculating on the fly...There is an option for you to calculate on the fly in Generate Reports where you can moderate any field you need and do any sort of calculations you want using field calculator.

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