I am adding X Y data to ArcMap using .csv files.

These files contain the X and Y co-ords along with a text column describing each point.

The points are added to the map correctly as an events layer, but when I view the attribute table, only the column headers are shown (see attached photo).

Can anyone suggest where I might be going wrong?

enter image description here

2 Answers 2


The problem is occurring because of the CSV file you're using. The column headings will have spaces and/or illegal characters within it, which is why it is not being displayed correctly on the event layer. You need to edit these within the CSV.

Please see this link about field characters within arcmap.

For ArcGIS to work with multiple data types, certain characters in field or table names are not supported. These characters include spaces, hyphens, such as in the term 'x-coord', brackets, and other special characters. These limits are imposed so that ArcGIS is able to function with the maximum amount of data types.

• Eliminate any characters that are not alphanumeric character or an underscore. • Do not start field or table names with an underscore or a number. • It is necessary to edit the field names in delimited text files to remove unsupported characters before using them.

The limit for the length of field and table names depends on the underlying database management system (DBMS). Consult the DBMS documentation for information on naming limits for a particular DBMS. A dBASE field name can be up to 10 characters long, and there is no limit on the length of the table name.

• For coverages, use up to 16 letters or numbers. Coverage items or field names must begin with a letter, and cannot contain spaces.


ArcMap does not like spaces in field names.

In Excel or a text editor, open your CSV and remove the spaces (and possibly also the dot) and resave, then open in ArcMap again using Add X/Y.

You will probably need to close ArcMap completely to remove locks on your CSV file.

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