I've somehow found myself digitizing a bunch of points from a scan, and the process is quite painful in ArcMap:

enter image description here

  1. Click on the featureclass name in the Create Features tool
  2. Move the mouse over the scanned image, then click on the point to be digitized
  3. Move the mouse to the Attributes section, click on the field to give it focus, and enter the value
  4. Goto 1

This involves a lot of repetition, switching between keyboard and mouse, and constant moving and clicking around the screen.

A more optimized pattern would be to click on each point, and pop up a dialog with the Elevation field already focussed, so I could simply enter the value, then hit Enter to dismiss the dialog and continue adding new points.

Is this easily possible without laborious ArcObjects coding? Are there any plugins to ArcMap which help to speed up data entry?


1 Answer 1


You might check out:

Entering attributes immediately after creating a new feature

You can turn on a setting so you will be prompted to enter attributes into the Attributes window after any editing operation that results in new features. You will need to close the window before you can do anything else with ArcMap.

Turning on this setting is most useful in the following situations:

  • Your geodatabase does not allow features to have null attribute values or requires that attributes values be unique. When prompted, you can edit the attribute values before the new feature is stored in the geodatabase. This may be useful when working in a nonversioned edit session with ArcSDE data.
  • You are creating new features and want to attribute them immediately. This is especially true when you are creating a few new features at a time, and they have known attributes or subtypes. This is useful when the values cannot be determined ahead of time; otherwise, you should set these values as part of the feature template.


  1. Click the Editor menu and click Options.
  2. Click the Attributes tab.
  3. Check the Display box.
  4. Specify whether to show the Attributes window for all layers or just certain ones. If you want it to display for certain layers, check those layers.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Finish a sketch or perform any editing operation that results in at least one new feature being created. The Attributes window opens.
  7. Type the attribute values.

Just make sure to hide all the other fields, such as ObjectID and Shape. Then it will focus on the top field, and you can just hit enter.

enter image description here

  • Does that bring the dialog onto the screen where the cursor is or just open the dialog at the default location? Jun 10, 2015 at 3:57
  • @MichaelMiles-Stimson it opens the attribute window where the cursor was clicked.
    – ianbroad
    Jun 10, 2015 at 4:00
  • That's almost exactly what I wanted - thanks. Annoyingly you have to hit Enter twice to dismiss the dialog but I can live with that. Jun 10, 2015 at 4:09
  • @StephenLead Yeah, I also noticed the Enter twice part, but it's helped me in a situation similar to yours. Good luck!
    – ianbroad
    Jun 10, 2015 at 4:10
  • 1
    I guess it makes sense in cases where you need to enter multiple fields - then it would be annoying if the dialog closed after the first field. PS I finished the remaining 90% of points in the same amount of time that the first 10% of points took! Jun 10, 2015 at 4:26

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