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If I have a shapefile with attributes and values that I need. What happens when I import it into a GDB with domains for that attribute? Say in my shapefile I have a feature with attribute 'TYPE' with a value of 'HOME' and import it into the GDB the value is 'HOUSE', does it convert my value 'HOME' to 'HOUSE' to maintain consistency?

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No it does not. Shapefiles do not support domains. When you import this into a GDB, the process does not automatically assign domains, even if the field names are the same. You will need to manually assign a domain to the field (Either an existing domain or a new domain) To conform to your existing domain you will need to modify the values in the feature class manually as well

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  • This makes sense.
    – jtgis
    Sep 28 '16 at 15:27
  • +1 Moreover what looks like "HOME" in database is most likely short integer, e.g.2. This is one of the reason of domain invention
    – FelixIP
    Sep 29 '16 at 2:50
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The domains transfer over as well into your GDB, you may need to re-assign them

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