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Using ArcGIS Desktop, I have been unable to take a height field contained within the attribute table of a vector file, and make that height field the z-value of that point.

ArcGIS Desktop has a tool called "Adjust 3D Z" which modifies existing Z values according to a field or a fixed value, but doesn't replace existing values, or add a value if the value is 0 already.

Any ideas?

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    What were the precise steps (tools and parameter values) that you used to try and do this in ArcGIS Desktop? What format are your vector files stored in? What version and license level of ArcGIS Desktop are you using? – PolyGeo Apr 29 '17 at 7:29
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You want to be using the tool Feature To 3D By Attribute which is in the 3D Analyst Toolbox > 3D Features. This will create a new dataset which will be a PointZ FeatureClass where the Z value comes from the chosen attribute field.

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