I have a question about adding data to attribute tables. I uploaded an Excel file into ArcMap (File -> Add data -> Add XY data). I chose the table from Excel that had the orientation data's latitude, longitude, strike and dip. From there, I made the data permanent by exporting the data into a shapefile. This shapefile was then added as a new layer to my map. From there, using the attribute table in the shapefile, I was able to plot data as points on my map using the latitude and longitude. Then, I changed the symbol from a dot to one representing strike and dip, added rotation to the symbols using the strike, and lastly, labeled the symbols using the dip. This process worked well and I had no problems.

Now, my problem is whenever I edit the attribute table and want to add more data to that table, the new data does not show up on my map and I don't understand why.

Do I need to add that data to the existing Excel document and then go through the same process?

  • 1
    It's not clear to which "attribute table" you added the data. If you added rows to the shapefile, but didn't add geometry, it can't be rendered (no way to know where). It's best to use the "one table" model as a mental map to geographic data (geometry is just a column type, like integer or text), because then it's clearer what should happen when rows are added. Please Edit your question.
    – Vince
    Commented May 18, 2020 at 15:15
  • What do you mean which "attribute table"? I mean the attribute table for the shapefile that contains the latitude, longitude, strike, and dip. I don't understand what you mean by "add geometry"? The data in the attribute table are points. I am new to ArcMap, so please explain. Commented May 18, 2020 at 15:21
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    Hence the problem. Attribute tables were a feature of the Arc/Info coverage model. Nowadays there's just tables that happen to have geometry. Latitude and longitude are not geometry, just floating-point values. If you don't generate geometry (a PointGeometry object) when you insert a row in the shapefile feature class, the result is a Null geometry (which can't be rendered, because it has no vertices)
    – Vince
    Commented May 18, 2020 at 15:26

2 Answers 2


I suspect that when you symbolized your data, you turned off the "All Other Values" category. If that is true, then new data that is added to the shapefile will not appear unless your new data is attributed with an existing symbol category.

Turning on the "All Other Values" category will cause all un-attributed data to appear with the symbology for that category. Once attributed, the data will appear with the proper symbology.


If you don't want to work on Excel file, you have to edit the point shapefile. Start editing, use the 'Create Features window', click on the point feautre listed, then select 'Point' in the 'Contruction tools' and finally right click on the map area, select 'Absolute X, Y' and add manually your coordinates

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