SQL help please! I've tried searching, but can't find the help I need.

This is for ArcGIS Advanced 10.2.

I have a parcel layer with all kinds of info that the general public shouldn't be able to access. What I want to do is use a definition query to hide entire columns of data, but still display the parcel with some non-sensitive information. I'd like to avoid deleting the columns if I can.

  • What format is the data being accessed in? If it's in ArcMap, as in giving someone an .mxd, you can just turn the fields off that you don't want displayed by clicking the layer in the TOC and going to the fields tab. If you don't want them to have access to the data at all, turn the fields off and export a new feature class. A definition query would be used if you were trying to filter the actual features based on attributes.
    – GeoJohn
    Mar 30, 2015 at 19:41

2 Answers 2


A definition query cannot hide columns of data. It is used to filter out rows of your data. For what you want to do I would either create a view of your feature class that doesn't include the columns you want to hide or if you are publishing this as a map service you can turn those columns off within the map document.

Within ArcMap right click the layer and choose Properties. Then click on the Fields tab. Uncheck the fields that you do not want published to the service. If you are only working with a MXD turning the fields off isn't a real secure option, because anyone could go in and turn them back on. But if you are publishing this as a service it will prevent those fields from being published.


A query layer pointing to the original DB of features would allow you to generate a limited version of your dataset.

A query layer uses full SQL, rather than the limited SQL available in a definition query. Your select statement should only include the desired fields instead of the default "Select *."


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