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Editing a DBF in Access   Kyle McDonald Oct 21, 2008
Re: Editing a DBF in Access   Joe Borgione Oct 21, 2008
Re: Editing a DBF in Access   Kyle McDonald Oct 22, 2008
Re: Editing a DBF in Access   mark squires Oct 22, 2008
Re: Editing a DBF in Access   Valentina Boycheva Nov 07, 2008
Re: Editing a DBF in Access   Kyle McDonald Nov 10, 2008
Re: Editing a DBF in Access   Leo Ofenstein Nov 12, 2008
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Subject Editing a DBF in Access 
Author Kyle McDonald 
Date Oct 21, 2008 
Message Hello,

Can anyone tell me how far you can go with editing the dbf of a shapefile in Microsoft Access? I have always been under the impression that you cannot edit the field names or structure, but you can edit the contents of a cell.

Does anyone know if it is possible add fields and ideally to then populate the contents of a new field with that of an existing field. I would use a Microsoft Access expression to do this.

Thanks

Kyle 
   
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Subject Re: Editing a DBF in Access 
Author Joe Borgione 
Date Oct 21, 2008 
Message I didn't know you could edit a dbf in access.

I've edited personal geodatabase feature class attributes in in access, but many say that's risky business. If you need to edit a dbf of a shapefile, why not do in ArcMap? 
  Joe Borgione
AlpineGeographic  
   
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Subject Re: Editing a DBF in Access 
Author Kyle McDonald 
Date Oct 22, 2008 
Message Joe,

The reason I was hoping to use something other than ArcMap, is because I have a lot of very complex editing of structures etc that is reuired. ArcMap, will be very slow for this.

You can perform a limited amount of editing outside of Arc, and in fact I have just been trialling things and we've discovered that you can add fields within design view of MS Access and can even perform a query, as long as it's an update query and not a query that produces a new table.

It looks like the requirement is that the original DBF is used and not a new one generated through a query. My guess is that the .shx has links to a specific dbf.

Thanks

Kyle 
   
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Subject Re: Editing a DBF in Access 
Author mark squires 
Date Oct 22, 2008 
Message Performing any edits outside ArcGIS can cause possible data corruption and it is not supported by ESRI.

I've added the following KB Article that discusses editing PGDB in Access:

FAQ: Should personal geodatabase be edited using Microsoft Access?

http://support.esri.com/index.cfm?fa=knowledgebase.techArticles.articleShow&d=31599 
  Mark
(ESRI)
 
   
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Subject Re: Editing a DBF in Access 
Author Valentina Boycheva 
Date Nov 07, 2008 
Message While I agree in principle that personal geodatabases should not be edited in Access, I have done so successfully for simple databases with no complex objects.

As for shapefiles - being standalone entities, they do not participate in complex relationships and thus in my opinion it is safe to modify the dbf schema by renaming the fields and changing the field type. Deleting a field may be riskier, but it's easy to do in ArcMap/ArcCatalog anyway. The only thing to remember is that before importing the dbf in Access, it has to be renamed to have no more than 8-character long name, otherwise Access will not be able to "see" it. 
  Valentina Boycheva
Senior GIS Programmer/Analyst
http://www.jonesedmunds.com
 
   
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Subject Re: Editing a DBF in Access 
Author Kyle McDonald 
Date Nov 10, 2008 
Message All,

Perhapps I should have updated this post sooner, but I have been quite successful with modifying the dbf of my shapefiles in Access. Like everyone has said though, there are a number of rules that need to be adhered to.

You cannot, perform any modification or queries and then export this to a new .dbf with the same file name as the original. Your modified .dbf must be the same physical file as the original. For a simple rename/delete/add you can simply make the changes in design view of the original file.

If you want to write a query (useful when performing the same complex edits to many shapefiles) just ensure that it is an update query, so that the changes are made to the original file.

It has worked quite successfully for me.

Thanks

Kyle 
   
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Subject Re: Editing a DBF in Access 
Author Leo Ofenstein 
Date Nov 12, 2008 
Message Excel (and Open Office Calc) also handle .dbf's