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My question is when making a spatial join, is it possible to only assign selected attributes of source layer to the target layer instead of getting all attributes from source layer? I'm asking is because each time when I do a join, I need to clean up the table to remove useless attributes.

Thanks!

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You can definitely control what columns will be exported to the output feature class. You should choose what fields will be added in the Field Map of Join Features (optional) section of the Spatial Join GP tool dialog (available in all licenses).

From the tool Help:

Controls what attribute fields will be in the output feature class. The initial list contains all the fields from both the target features and the join features. Fields can be added, deleted, renamed, or have their properties changed. The selected fields from the target features are transferred as is, but selected fields from the join features can be aggregated by a merge rule.

You just right-click the field and choose whether you want to delete it. enter image description here

Another in my view tidier alternative, is to use Make Feature Layer tool to have only those fields that you need before feeding the data into Spatial Join tool. You can create a layer in your map document which will have only fields you need and you can use this layer as input for your GP tools. This is particularly convenient when automating the process with ModelBuilder or Python when you work with feature classes but need to "filter" them first to avoid having unnecessary information in the output.

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    also simply hiding the field prior to doing the join. another method is creating a view (if these are database tables), in which you specify exactly which fields are included in the view. – Brad Nesom Dec 13 '13 at 19:17
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    Thanks, Alex and Brad! I usually only use the "join" function by right clicking the layer, so forget that "join" from the analysis tool can actually allow me to do field selection. – 12B01 Dec 13 '13 at 20:27

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