I have been experimenting with creating apps from templates in an ArcGIS Online Public Account. While I can create apps that let me view my web map, I have yet to find a way to create a map that works with the edit tools in the app templates.

My web map has one shapefile that was loaded into the map as a zip file. When I try to configure the Find, Edit, Filter or GeoForm templates from this web map, it tells me there isn't an editable layer to work with even though I have editing enabled.

I suspect the problem lies with the way my shapefile has been uploaded. Is there a way to upload a shapefile that will let me edit it in the app? Loading it as a zipped shapefile or geodatabase doesn't work. Should I try to publish it from ArcGIS for Desktop? Is there a way to do this with a public account? Or is it just not possible unless I upgrade to an organizational account?

2 Answers 2


Unfortunately, uploading a shapefiles inside a web map will not provide an editable layer, since no feature service gets created in the process. Instead, you get a static layer stored with the web map. From the ArcGIS Online Help (emphasis mine):

If you have a small amount of data in a shapefile—generally fewer than 1,000 features—you can make it available for others to view through a web browser by adding it as a .zip file containing the .shp, .shx, .dbf, and .prj files to a map you create with the map viewer.

When you add a shapefile, the map viewer converts it to a format that web clients can quickly read and display.

To create a feature service within ArcGIS Online, you need a organizational account (i.e. paid subscription). Again from ArcGIS Online Help (emphasis mine):

You must have the following to publish layers to ArcGIS Online:

  • An account that is part of an ArcGIS Online organization
  • Privileges to create content and publish hosted web layers
  • ArcGIS 10.1 for Desktop or a later release (if you want to publish hosted web layers from ArcMap)

To add to eric's answer, the shapefile needs to be served up as a hosted feature service on ArcGIS Online.

Depending on your use-case, perhaps get a Developer Account (still free, 50 credits a month) where you can achieve your goals. Just check the small print on what you can do with it before doing anything commercially. If your doing this at your organisation, get a ArcGIS for Organisation free trial - does not take much to prove the business value with ArcGIS Online.

  • Good point Simon! I forgot about Developer Account as an option. Jul 30, 2015 at 16:10
  • I just checked out the Developer account link, and it looks like they are no longer free? Or is there a well hidden Free version somewhere still? Thank you! Mar 27, 2023 at 15:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.