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In ArcMap 10.1 I have a table open for a layer that I have set as not selectable. Yet when I use the Field Calculator for a record(s) in that table, it automatically makes the associated layer a selectable layer, which I do not want, since I am in the process of editing another layer and only want that layer selectable. Is there a way to keep this from happening?

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what is your data source type? shape, fgdb, pgdb, egdb. – Brad Nesom Apr 10 '13 at 21:07
What's egdb? Not heard of that one :) – blah238 Apr 10 '13 at 21:11
@blah238, egdb = Enterprise Geodatabase (ArcServer/ArcSDE). – RyanDalton Apr 10 '13 at 22:06

I think you are probably running up against an intended design limitation.

Here is the help topic: Selecting Features While Editing

There are two parts that are relevant:

While the Edit tool is only available during an edit session, it can select features from any selectable layer, regardless of whether you are currently editing it.

To avoid inadvertently selecting from the wrong layer if you have other layers that overlap with or are nearby the features you want to select for editing, make the layer not selectable on the table of contents.

If the Edit tool can select anything that is selectable, and the only way to not be able to select something is to make it non-selectable, then I think it is reasonable to posit that if you are editing something, whether a single feature or all features in a particular featureclass, that they are assumed to be selectable.

It could also be that when you are in an edit session, and use the Field Calculator, there is an implicit selection being made. The field calculator operation is running a form of a cursor on the layer, and essentially stepping through each row to modify a part of it. The action of adding all the features to the cursor could be where a selection is implied to occur.

A simple test outside of an edit session showed the same behavior.

  1. Created an empty field on a layer.
  2. Set the layer to be not selectable
  3. Set the table of contents to show Selectable Layers, where layer is clearly showing as not selectable.
  4. Calculate single number on all features in that field.
  5. Once calculation finishes, the layer has switched in TOC from Not Selectable to `Selectable (no features selected)

Probably the only way to avoid this is by splitting up your editing operations. Do the editing on the features in your layer first, then do the attribute editing in the table.
Another option that may work since you are using SDE would be to do the operations in different instances of ArcMap.

  • Have one instance open where you are doing the table operations.
  • Have another one open where you are performing the feature edits.

Since they are in different layers, you probably wouldn't even run into locking problems.

Hope that gives you an option.

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