I have succesfully created Domains into a 9.3 geodatabase based on Oracle (SDE) by using ArcCatalog (ArcGIS 10.1). Proof: If I open the table GDB_DOMAINS in Oracle the new domains are listed. Furthermore, I have been able to populate these Domains with values by extracting the coded values from non-spatial tables in Oracle, fine. However, in the last step, after I associate these domains to the corresponding feature classes' fields in ArcCatalog by clicking onto the feature class properties, and press Apply,OK. The following happens:

  • When I open an editing session in ArcMap, and click on the field the coded values don't show up. The domains are not there.
  • If I close ArcCatalog, therefore close the SDE connection to the database, and open it again the associated domains to the feature classes' fields are gone, so you see the domain textbox empty in the feature class properties.

I don't know what I am doing wrong in associating the created domains to the feature classes' fields.

  • I tried to replicate your problem (albeit in 10.0) and both failed and succeeded. I wasn't able to associate the domains to the fields I wanted, as they didn't show up in the dialog. However this does prove that there is a problem with preserving domains in 9.3 databases when working with 10.x.
    – Menno
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 12:53
  • Well, I cannot even see a combobox or similar in the attribute table when editing the column. Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 17:21

1 Answer 1


Now, I know why the lookup tables did not show up in the attribute table or why after closing ArcCatalog the domains associations were gone.

The feature class was not Register with Geodatabase. It was listed in ArcCatalog as an SDE Feature class, but you need to register it explicitly.

By doing that, everything works fine.

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