1

I have a shapefile with points and I derived from it some layerfiles with different symbologies (based on different columns of the attribute table).

How can I distinguish between shapefile and layer files, when I loaded both in Arcmap (10.5.1). The properties show me for both "Shapefile-Feature-Class" as type and refer to the same shapefile as source.

This is for me important especially for future modifications. I was wondering if there is a difference, when I modify the shapefile or the layerfile. Or will the changes of the layerfile directly referred to the original shapefile?

2 Answers 2

1

A layerfile ONLY holds symbology and a few other settings, they are not the source data. So many layerfiles can point to the same single feature class and symbolize different aspects of the dataset. So if you load two layerfiles into your map that are both pointing to the same featureclass, then editing the data in one of them is essentially editing the other at the same time.

If you loaded the shapefile directly, ArcMap creates a layer object for it as it loads so you can see it.

If you want to conceptually think of layerfiles as different datasets then you will need to make copies of the feature class and have each layer file point to its own feature class, which may be inefficient and duplicating data.

1
  • Thank you for your quick awsner.
    – ims.weber
    Jun 27, 2022 at 11:34
0

If you add a shapefile into ArcMap as a layer, and then add a layer file that uses the same shapefile as its source, what you have in ArcMap is two layers that point at the same data source (the shapefile).

Consequently, you are free to change the properties (symbology, definition query, etc) of each layer independently but, if you edit the shapefile itself (e.g. add/move/delete features, change attributes/coordinate system, etc) via either layer then you will see that change reflected in both layers because they both point at the same data source.

1
  • Thank you for your quick awsner.
    – ims.weber
    Jun 27, 2022 at 11:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.