I find this particular feature of the ArcMap 10 framework quite annoying:

When I define a join on any layer, templates cannot be added to the create features window.

I have to remove all joins from the layer, then add the template, then modify/edit/add features and again define the join(s).

In fact, when I use the Organize Feature Templates window to add the template on a layer with a join, it does not add it to the list and no errors are raised. However, if i remove joins from the layer the templates I've added while the layer had a join suddenly appear in the Create Features templates list.

Without having to do this programatically, Is there a way to use add templates on layers with joins? (Assuming entering attributes that satisfy the join would somehow have to be enforced)

When editing older maps I often forget that a layer has a join and it takes me a while to figure out I have to first remove it before I can use the templates to edit the features. Even a message would be nice, i.e. "You have to remove joins to use templates." or something like that but I suspect that this is not possible using a default tweak.

Any ideas?

  • I just tried to duplicate this with feature classes and tables within a file geodatabase, but am not seeing the same behavior. I can successfully add templates on layers with joins. What format are the feature classes and tables in? Do you have the latest ArcGIS service pack installed?
    – Jeff Berry
    Jan 31, 2012 at 16:31
  • I've experienced odd behavior within the ArcGIS 10 editing environment that is sometimes resolved by starting a new map document, (although most of that was before Service Pack 1). Is this occuring within a single map document? Have you tried to duplicate it in a seperate new map document?
    – Jeff Berry
    Jan 31, 2012 at 16:40
  • I have a point event layer (geodatabase) and another "normal" point feature class. The point event layer has a definition query and the joint feature class is displaying only those joined points that satisfy the join as well as well as only those points as defined by the "event layer" definition query. Jan 31, 2012 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


You should be able to use joins with feature templates. However, if the features are not visible on the map after the join, perhaps because there were no matching records in the join, then the associated feature templates may not appear. Also, if you have a definition query on the layer and adding the join causes a field value to display as null or become hidden, it could hide the feature templates because the default attribute value on the feature template does not satisfy the definition query now.

More on definition queries and feature templates: http://blogs.esri.com/Dev/blogs/arcgisdesktop/archive/2012/01/20/Best-practices-for-using-layer-definition-queries-while-creating-features.aspx

As a side note, ArcGIS 10.1 has a warning message when feature templates are not displayed on the Create Features window.

  • Good to know about the message. Yes LayerA has a definition query then LayerB which is joined to LayerA is meant also only to display those features that are satisfied by both the LayerA (a point event layer) definition query as well as the join (Keep only matching records) A very basic scenario... Jan 31, 2012 at 18:17
  • THe templates should technically support this scenario exept that my LayerA is an event layer which might cause some problems with Adding new features to LayerB. "A definition query cannot be set on a system field while creating features" - this could also be a part of the problem. Well. Thanks (+1) - i will wait for an official 10.1 release - the message will help. Jan 31, 2012 at 18:22

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