I am new to raster data and my background is software engineering so this might be a trivial question for GIS specialists.

Some raster files have attribute table but some do not.

On those with attribute tables, I can add a field in that table using Add Field (Data Management) tool but I cannot see the field in the attribute table.

In fact, when I identify any pixel by Identify tool, it does not show the field name so I am wondering where the field is gone?

EDIT : I have tried to do Build Raster Attribute Table but it produces error. My raster data's pixel type is: signed integer. Steps I am doing now:

  1. raster to polygon conversion(input:inpRaster, output:resultPolygon)
  2. polygon to raster conversion(input: resultPolygon, output: resultRaster)
  3. add field(input raster: resultRaster) no error occurred. Shows field added message. But does not show it in the attribute table. If I remove the raster layer from arcMap and add it again from arcCatalog, then it shows the field.

When I try to create another new field with the same name, it says that field already exists. So why doesn't it show all fields in the attribute table?

  • What's the raster format and what the field type did you added?
    – Darksanta
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 8:10
  • raster format:FGDBR, added field type: long
    – Emi
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 8:41
  • 1
    Was the table open when you did this? Did you try closing then reopening the table? See Polygeo's explanation as well.
    – user681
    Commented May 19, 2013 at 12:30
  • @DanPatterson: I closed the table and reopened it. but nothing happened.
    – Emi
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 5:48

1 Answer 1


I suspect much of what you are seeing as inconsistent software behaviour will become clearer after reviewing the online help for Raster dataset attribute tables. The help for Build Raster Attribute Table is probably also worth reviewing.

If the solution does not become evident, then I would recommend listing the precise steps you performed on a raster dataset, starting with its precise format, through to when something unexpected was observed. That way we should be able to try and reproduce it and determine whether the software is working as documented.

  • I have edited my question and add my steps. Can you please help me now?
    – Emi
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 5:41
  • It sounds like you just need to refresh the workspace that contains your raster dataset with the newly added field - which you can do in ArcMap's Catalog window.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 6:01
  • But when I add new field in feature class, i don't need to do anything. It directly shows the newly added field. So why it is not for raster?
    – Emi
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 6:03
  • Perhaps one is in a folder workspace and the other in a geodatabase workspace.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 6:06
  • No. my feature class is a shape file. and it is stored in a file system workspace.
    – Emi
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 6:14

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