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Is there a way to make a layer (a independent shapefile or a layer in a SDE gdb) read-only - so that people will be able to see it but not edit it?

(I'm using 9.3.1)

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Do you mean making the underlying featureclass readonly? Or do you mean you also want to prevent people from changing the layername, renderer, visible fields, etc. ? – Kirk Kuykendall Nov 22 '10 at 2:43
I have several hundreds of feature classes in one SDE GDB. I want to make sure that one of those (the state polygon feature class) can never be erased, because erasing it disrupts the network rules of other feature classes. – jonatr Nov 22 '10 at 5:00

for a quick and simple 'lock - read only' (on Windows) you can make the files read-only (or folder of files)

SDE you can set the permissions of the user to read-only.

or use ArcReader/Explorer to view the files.

geodatabases: if editing locks all other users out (read-only)

shapefiles: (some are defunked)

most is covered here of ArcGIS

failing all the above > make a PDF.

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