In ArcMap 10, setting a definition query on a layer would display only the subset of features:

Defn query in ArcMap 10

To add more features to the query would simply involve clicking Get Unique Values to list all the values for that field again:

Updating the defn query in ArcMap 10

The steps are the same in 10.1, except when I go to update the query by getting the unique values again, this happens:

Updating a defn query in ArcMap 10.1

The values window no longer shows all the values for that field in the feature class, it only shows the values which were set by the current definition query. I'm not sure if this was a deliberate change (I went from 10.0 SP5 to 10.1 SP1), but it seems that I now have to clear the current query, apply, then go back into the query builder for all values to become available again. Has anyone else encountered this issue?

1 Answer 1


I just tested using ArcGIS 10.0 SP5 and 10.1 SP1 and can confirm the software behaviour has changed between those versions. The relevant "bug" number(s) may be NIM086371 and/or NIM086420.

Since the reduced Unique Values List only shows up after I have chosen to Apply the first half of the Definition Query, my inclination is to say that the new behaviour seems more correct to me than the old. This is because once a Definition Query has been applied to a layer I would expect that layer to only know about features that satisy the Definition Query.

However, it would make it a lot easier to work with if the ArcGIS Idea to Make Definition Query able to be turned on/off with Check Box were implemented. That way you could just uncheck a box and hit Apply, add on to your existing Definition Query with full access to Unique Value Lists for the whole underlying dataset, then toggle the Definition Query back on and hit Apply/OK to complete the workflow. Without the enhancement I would have Notepad open to hold a copy of the query while removing the Definition Query to regain access to the Unique Value List.


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