I created an excel spreadsheet which converted to blob type when i imported it into ArcMap .I am trying to view the BLOB type field in ArcMap because I want to join this blob field to a common field in a point geodatabase feature class.

Can someone tell me how to view the content of a BLOB type table field in ArcMap please?

  • What version of ArcGIS are you using, and what tool/how did you import the Excel spreadsheet into the FGDB? Aug 26 '15 at 13:20
  • I am using ArcGIS 10.3. I used the Table to Table tool to do the conversion into the FGDB. What do I have to do to view the text in the BLOB field?
    – sarah
    Aug 26 '15 at 16:03

A BLOB field is simply a field that stores data in binary.

From Wikipedia:

A Binary Large OBject (BLOB) is a collection of binary data stored as a single entity in a database management system. Blobs are typically images, audio or other multimedia objects, though sometimes binary executable code is stored as a blob. Database support for blobs is not universal.

You can view the attachments in ArcMap in two different ways.

One way is using the Identify tool on the feature, and then selecting the file from the Attachment drop down:

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The other way is by selecting the feature, and then selecting the file from the Attachment drop down of the Attributes window:

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But as far as joining your point feature class to an excel file inside the BLOB field, that's not going to work. As mentioned before, data inside the BLOB field is stored as binary.

You could probably write a Python script that exports the excel file to a temporary location and does the join, but that's a bit more work. Here are a couple sources for reading/writing to BLOB fields with Python:

Batch export attachments from a feature class

Working with BLOB data

  • So you are saying that the only way to view the content of a BLOB field is to add the excel spreadsheet as an attachment? I do not wish to write a python script.
    – sarah
    Aug 25 '15 at 19:03
  • @sarah maybe I'm not understanding what you're trying to do. When you imported the excel file into ArcMap, it now exists inside that BLOB field in binary. The BLOB field is where attachments are stored.
    – ianbroad
    Aug 25 '15 at 21:04
  • the field that i want to view is really a text field in excel with more than 255 characters,that has been converted to a BLOB field in arc map. i tried converting the excel to a geodatabase table and changed the BLOB field to Text datatype, didn't work. What can i do
    – sarah
    Aug 26 '15 at 2:04
  • I had the same issue where it imports to ArcMap v10.3 as a BLOB field. A work-around is to save the Excel file as text or .CSV first, then import to ArcMap.
    – JeremyG
    Feb 28 '17 at 23:14

A quick method that I have found to work is exporting the excel spreadsheet as a .CSV and then using the 'Table to Table' geoprocessing tool import it into ArcMap.

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