I cannot figure out how to toggle selectable layers in ArcMap 10.

In 9.3, I remember being able to choose from a list which layers I wanted to be able to select features from in the map.

Let's say I'm editing two different feature classes for a building - 'FireExtinguishers' and 'EvacuationRoutes'.

While editing, I don't want to accidentally select the 'Rooms' feature class.

I want to be able to turn off the selectability of 'Rooms', but the only way I know how to change this is to right-click a layer in the Table of Contents and choose Selection -> Make This The Only Selectable Layer.

I would like to have finer control over what layers are and are not selectable.

Does anyone know how to do this?

  • What if the layer is just Not Selectable, and there's no rectangle to click? Can you make a copy of the layer so that it is selectable?
    – user65117
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 17:49
  • @patdieter, I'm not sure. Try posting a separate question.
    – Tanner
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 20:23

3 Answers 3


In the Table of Contents window, there is a button across top titled "List By Selection". Clicking this button toggles the Table of Contents into a mode that lets you change the selectablity of each layer in your dataframe.

  • I am having similar difficulties, though I have found "List by Selection". Once I have chosen one single layer as the only selectable layer, how can I turn other layers into selectable layers again? I can*t drag&drop them to the "Selectable" layers and right-click doesn`t help me either. Is there a simple way to decide which layers are selectable? Commented Oct 12, 2015 at 15:28
  • 1
    @ElenaWimmerwuchs on the 'List by Selection' tab you can change which layers are selectable by clicking on the little icon next to the layer name. The first icon is 'Click to toggle selectable', the other is 'Click to clear layer selection'. The icons are next to every layer name in the 'List by Selection' tab.
    – Midavalo
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 18:19
  • Is there any way to toggle to selectable more than one layer at a time?
    – Alpheus
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 21:05

You probably already figured this out, but in case someone else comes across it, you can click the small selection icon to the right of the layer you want to make selectable (or not selectable). See the red arrow:

enter image description here

  • 1
    Welcome to GIS SE, thanks for your contribution. It would help to paste a snapshot of said icon, to easily communicate your intended answer. Have a look at the tour page for more tips.
    – yanes
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 20:10

check this link


The "Set Selectable Layers" option is still available in ArcGIS 10, you just need to add it like you would a custom tool:

Click the Customize menu > Customize Mode > Commands tab. Type "set selectable layers" in the "show commands containing" search box, and drag and drop the Set Selectable Layers command on to your Selection menu.

set selectable layers

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