I am developing some templates for my office and would like to pull information from an external source that will be displayed in the marginalia as text boxes or similar objects. A product request form was developed as part of a SharePoint using InfoPath. The main things that I need are the required distribution notices and the product ID, but occasionally there are some other fields that are also needed.

If someone knows how to access an Excel or Access file, I can work with that too. Ultimately if I have to add a table to my TOC I can do that but I would like to avoid that if possible.

  • 1
    what version of ArcMap?
    – Midavalo
    Jul 26, 2016 at 19:22
  • 1
    How does your external data relate to the features in your map?
    – Midavalo
    Jul 26, 2016 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


This depends on what you're trying to achieve. If you're data relates to features in your map, as Midavalo suggests, you'll probably have to load it into the TOC. However, if you are updating text objects in your layout, you can change these with a python script. You'll have to edit your question to provide further details about your workflow and what exactly you need to achieve.

I don't know that you would be able to write something purely dynamic. However, you can write a tool using a python add-in (or another type of add-in). There are python modules for reading Excel and Access databases. You can even read directly from Sharepoint, if you want.

  • Edited. This information does not relate to the content in the data frame(s). It's the required disclaimers such as "Internal Use Only" and other information that my higher management might designate that need to be displayed that might change from product to product.
    – RWhitacre
    Jul 27, 2016 at 2:52
  • 1
    Yeah, I would say your best bet would be to write a tool to extract the data you want. How are your python skills? You can write either a script tool or a python add-in to do what you want. I think it might be easier to write a script tool to do this. You can select the product in the tool and it will pull the appropriate data from your source and you can feed that into text elements. The key is to ensure the text elements have a name that you can refer to.
    – Fezter
    Jul 27, 2016 at 6:16

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