I have a "plant_species" point feature class, and after a period of time working with the layer, the ability to copy/paste an individual plant_species feature from within the map frame no longer works. I have been working on symbology for the map so I think it may have something to do with that.

The layer's symbology is set to "Unique Values", and has proportional size effects applied to it via the "Vary symbology by attribute" >> size menu, where I apply a multiplier to a radius attribute stored in the geodatabase.

The steps to reproduce are very simple:

  • I add the feature class data to the map, edit the symbology using custom *.svg files, and it works fine for a while. I can copy/paste a tree and it works just as you would expect.

  • After some amount of time working with the layer (creating new plant point features, copy pasting plant features, and editing symbology), I get a simple "Paste Features Failed" dialog box when I try to, for example, copy/paste a single plant point feature by selecting it, right clicking it, and copy/pasting in the map frame. There is neither a detailed explanation nor a link to help provided.

  • A (sort of) workaround is to remove the layer from the map and re-add it, but this requires me to set up the symbology again, which takes forever. So I have had to resort to using a "print map" which contains my symbology, and a less fancy working map that I use for editing. I'm not sure if the copy/paste problem will happen in that map, which would suggest it doesn't have anything to do with the custom symbology.

I would prefer to use the print map as my editing map, as I am working with a lot of different species and the symbols really help.

Edit -- A better workaround:

  • Copy the layer with the problem.

  • Rename the original layer (important).

  • From the symbology tool of the new layer, click the hamburger menu, and then "import symbology...". Import the symbology from the original layer to the new one.

  • Edit any fields in custom expressions as necessary(some of these needed tweaks for me).

This is still not ideal, but much more workable than redoing all the symbology by hand, and persists any custom expressions you are using.

1 Answer 1


You can just open the data in a new project..edit it and it'll show up in the old one. You can't drag and drop though from your current project....it has to be added using add data or catalog pane

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