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Using Arc 10.4.1, I have joined a geodatabase feature class table to a standalone geodatabase attribute table. This is a many:1 join (standalone attribute table:feature class). After making the join, I need to do a series of queries on the standalone attribute table, then calculate a field in the feature class table. Because of this many:1 situation, I am forced to join the feature class table to the standalone attribute table, rather than joining the standalone attribute table to the feature class table.

However, when I try to change values in the joined (feature class) table, the field calculator is greyed out. Sure enough, the Arc Help documentation states:

"You can only calculate values for fields in the origin table."

But I could swear that I've successfully used the field calculator on a joined table in the past (Arc 9.x, methinks).

Is there a way to create calculations on joined fields?

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  • 1
    What about joining the fc to the standalone table?
    – klewis
    Oct 17 '16 at 18:56
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    Reverse the join. You can only edit the parent table, not the joined table. As far as I can recall this has always been the case.
    – Midavalo
    Oct 17 '16 at 19:09
  • @Midavalo I cannot reverse the join because of a many:1 situation. I've edited the original question to include this.
    – Stu Smith
    Oct 18 '16 at 20:32
  • Start editing the table and then calculate the fields. I think that has worked for me in the past. Additionally, before the join, make a new field for the calculations, then joins and do the calculations in the new field
    – TsvGis
    Oct 19 '16 at 4:43
  • @TvsGis you are correct! Please feel free to post your comment as an answer.
    – Stu Smith
    Nov 8 '16 at 19:44
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As commented by @tsvgis:

Start editing the table and then calculate the fields. I think that has worked for me in the past. Additionally, before the join, make a new field for the calculations, then joins and do the calculations in the new field

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  • @TsvGis Well, here I am a year later after an upgrade to 10.5.1, and the problem has returned: the Field Calculator is grayed out for all fields in a Join table (it is not grayed out for the Origin table fields). It doesn't matter whether I start editing the Join table before or after making the join - the Field Calculator is not available to make edits in the Join table. Huh?
    – Stu Smith
    Nov 28 '17 at 20:12
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I found your post searching for my own solution to this problem in 10.6.1. But I realized the issue was that I had joined one table to another table that also had a join with a different table, which was making the field calculator button grey out.

So it went like this:

  • Table A was joined to Table B creating Table A/B
  • Table A/B joined to Table C - buttons greyed out
  • Table A OR Table B joined to Table C - buttons function

This may not be what's causing it for you, but if not you, maybe it will help someone else.

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