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Describe attribute fields

To help the people who use your hosted feature layers understand what each field stores, you should provide a useful, easy-to-read field display name, provide text to describe the purpose of each field, and define what type of data each field contains.

As the owner of the hosted feature layer or an organization administrator, you add this information in the detailed view for each field. This information helps people decide if the data in the layer meets their needs, how best to apply styles to the layer, and gives editors the information they need to update or add attribute values.

Set a display name

You can change the field name that other users see when they view a hosted feature layer's attribute table. Set a display name that concisely conveys the field contents to help others understand the data.

Changing the display name for a field does not affect the field name stored in the attribute table. Because it's a property of the field and not a field name, the display name can contain spaces and nonalphanumeric characters.

To change the field name that others see when viewing the attribute table, follow these steps:

  1. From the layer's item page, click the Data tab to show the table.
  2. Click Fields.
  3. If your hosted feature layer contains more than one sublayer, choose the sublayer you want to alter from the Layer drop-down menu.

    The fields list shows each field's display name, field name, and data type.

  4. Click the display name for the field you want to alter to open the field's details.
  5. Click Edit next to the display name and type a new name.

    Keep the name as brief as possible while still conveying the content of the field.

  6. Click Save when you're finished.

Provide a field description

The field description helps you communicate what a field contains without having to use long or complicated field names.

Add field descriptions from each field's detailed view on the Data tab of the hosted feature layer's item page.

  1. Open the item page for the hosted feature layer to which you want to add field descriptions.
  2. Click the Data tab and click the Fields button.
  3. Click the first field name to open the field's detail view.
  4. Click Edit for the Description and type a summary of the information that the field stores.
  5. Click Save to add the description.

When people use the layer in Map Viewer, they can access each field's description when setting the layer's style and when they open the table in the map. This information helps them understand how to use and symbolize the data.

Define field value types

To help users and client apps identify how field values should be used or represented, you can define what types of values are stored in each attribute field in your hosted feature layer. ArcGIS Online uses field value types to show you the most relevant options when drawing a layer in Map Viewer or configuring pop-ups.

Field value types

The following table lists each value type you can assign to a field and what each value type represents:

Field value typeWhat the field contains for each feature

Name or Title

Text that represents a name, title, label, or keyword for each feature.

Description

Text that provides a longer description of the feature, more than just a name or title.

For example, suppose you have a layer to collect information from the public regarding issues in the community. A field in that layer that allows people to specify the nature of the issue could be defined with the Description field value type.

Type or Category

Field values represent types or categories that group features based on a common characteristic; for example, soil type, zoning code, species, or asset type.

Count or Amount

Integers (no decimal) that represent the quantity of a specific attribute.

Percentage or Ratio

Number values in this field reflect the relationship between different quantities; for example, the percentage of males in a population or the ratio between the number of males and females.

Measurement

A number that reflects a characteristic that you can precisely measure; for example, elevation, distance, temperature, or age.

Unique Identifier

The values in this field are used to positively distinguish one feature or entity from another; for example, an assessor's parcel number, a membership ID, an invoice number, or an email address.

Each value per entity must be unique, but that does not necessarily mean all the values in this field will be unique for the layer.

For example, if you have two layers: one for employees and one for job sites, both could contain an employee ID unique identifier field. In the employees layer, the employee ID field should contain unique values. In the job sites layer, the employee ID field could contain duplicate values, as an employee may work at multiple job sites. The employee ID field in the job sites layer is still a unique identifier because it distinguishes one employee from another, even though the field does not contain unique values in the job sites layer.

Ordered or Ranked

The values in this field represent a feature's status in an ordered or ranked list. For example, a feature could be one of the following:

  • Small, medium, or large
  • First, second, third, or fourth
  • Informational, warning, error, or failure

Binary

Only one of two values are possible for each feature. Some examples include the following:

  • On or off
  • Yes or no
  • True or false
  • Inhabited or vacant

Location or Place Name

Values in this field represent a geographic location. Examples of values in such a field include a street address, city name, region, building name (such as A.K. Smiley Public Library), attraction name (such as Alameda County Fairgrounds or Cairngorms National Park), postal code, or country.

Coordinate

These fields store a geographic coordinate value such as x, y, z, latitude, or longitude.

Date and Time

Values in this field store explicit dates and times or date references such as days of the week, months, or years.

Add a field value type

Field value types are also defined in each field's detailed view on the Data tab of the hosted feature layer's item page.

Follow these steps to define field value types:

  1. Open the item page for the hosted feature layer to which you want to add field descriptions.
  2. Click the Data tab and click the Fields button.
  3. Click the first field name to open the field's detail view.
  4. Click Edit for the Field Value Type.
  5. Use the definitions in the previous section to help you choose the value type for the field from the Edit Field Value Type drop-down menu.
  6. Click Save.

Map Viewer will set a default style based on the value type information to better represent the field's content.