I have several big maps with a lot of points that I have to digitize. All these Points have different Values (depth in Meter, double) and will be stored in 1 Shapefile.

Is there a way to speed up my digitization process? e.g. Create Point with my Mouse in right Hand and directly Type the Value into a NumPad in my left Hand?

Right now I always have to select the Item in the Attribute Table, where i can edit the Value. (Too much clicks)

  • 1
    If all you need is the Z coordinate in a field - you could save yourself a bunch of time with using a CAD package (Microstation or Autocad, for example, if you have access). Just digitize features at their correct elevation using precision keyins. ArcGIS and rapid 3d digitizing don't really mix.
    – WolfOdrade
    Nov 8, 2012 at 0:43
  • Thanks for the hint. But i need to stick with ArcGIS :(
    – Markus
    Nov 8, 2012 at 9:56
  • Is it just one attribute, or many? Is there lots of repetition? Nov 8, 2012 at 15:27
  • there are just a few repetition in a large area. it's only one attribute (z-value) with a range of -3 to 40M in decimeter steps.
    – Markus
    Nov 8, 2012 at 17:28

2 Answers 2


You can setup subtypes and domains with Geodatabases. http://resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#//001s00000001000000

But for Shapefiles your best bet is to copy with attributes

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Click the Edit tool Edit Tool on the Editor toolbar and select the features.
Click the Attributes button Attributes on the Editor toolbar.
Click the layer name. If you want to update just certain selected features in the layer, hold down CTRL and click the features to highlight them.
Update the attribute values. Only change the values you want to apply to all the features.
You can also make bulk updates to the attributes of related features or tables this way. Expand the relationships so you can see the related records, hold down CTRL and click each of the related records at the top of the window, then change the values at the bottom of the window.
When you are finished, click the features to ensure that the values are updated as desired.


  • Thanks! This method is a bit faster than working with the Attribute-Table. But you still have to move your mouse, click on the item and move the mouse back again.
    – Markus
    Nov 8, 2012 at 9:54
  • 1
    You can customise it to be part of a hotkey/shortcut like F6 - resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#//… & resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.1/index.html#//…
    – Mapperz
    Nov 8, 2012 at 14:13
  • yes i think that is the best solution! when pressing a shortkey it automatically jumps to the first item in the Attribute Window. This is normally "FID" or similiar, but you can change the order in the Attribute Table! I was able to set this shortkey on a extra-button on my mouse. This is a very fast and comfortable method! Thanks!
    – Markus
    Nov 8, 2012 at 17:49

I'm going to save you a LOT of time.

1). Write all of your data into a excel spreadhseet (one column for X,Y coordinates, Name, ID, etc etc) 2. Save the sheet as an 97-2003 workbook 3. Add the sheet into arcGIS 4. Right Click on the sheet in the table of contents and 'display X,Y data' 5. Relax

Displaing the coordinates

  • 1
    Good idea, but it's not clear if the Original Poster has X, Y values to add to a speadsheet. It could be why he's digitizing in the first place. However, using your spreadsheet idea, the Original Poster could enter all of the elevation data into a spreadsheet, digitize the points in exactly the same order, and then join the dbf and the spreadsheet off the auto-generated ObjectID
    – hgil
    Nov 8, 2012 at 16:00
  • as hgil said, i don't have any X,Y data that i can add to a spreadsheet. digitizing the points in the same order is way to complicated and will lead to errors.
    – Markus
    Nov 8, 2012 at 17:24

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