Missing attribute table! I'm using ArcMap 10.6. I have a shapefile of geo-political borders from Natural Earth. Both the shapefile and its attribute table are in working order. But after I join a csv to the shapefile, the attribute table of the shapefile completely disappears. I can't figure out where it's gone or how to recover it. There are absolutely no columns or rows (see photo). I know the join worked, because if I click/identify an individual polygon of the shapefile, I can see its attributes (new and old) using the identify tool; I can also see the fields in the properties > fields window, but no matter what I have tried, I cannot see anything in the attribute table of the shapefile after the join. The menus in the attribute table also are not working. However, if I remove the join, the attribute table of the shapefile once again appears as normal.

I tried exporting the data after the join, as another shapefile - to see if the attribute table would be visible there - but the export progress remains at 0% after several minutes...so I think that's not going to work.

How can I make the attribute table visible again after I do the join?

  • For now I pseudo-solved the problem by doing the Join in QGIS and exporting the shp so that I can view it and the attribute table in ArcMap.
    – natp
    Jun 18, 2018 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


After loading the CSV file into ArcMap, export it to a stand-alone table within the geodatabase. Then set up the join using the table (instead of the CSV file).

  • I believe this solution works, much appreciated. Do you know why or how this works as opposed to joining the csv directly?
    – natp
    Jun 18, 2018 at 16:24
  • 1
    ArcMap just seems to work better with tables within a geodatabase since it is the native environmment. When you export a CSV file (or Excel file) to a stand-alone table in the geodatabase, it creates an ObjectID. I've always had issues with CSV file and Excel files in ArcMap.
    – jpietsch
    Jun 18, 2018 at 16:51

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