Friday, July 19, 2013

Whispers and Praxes (tips and tricks) For ArcGIS Desktop

New tools and expanded usefulness of ArcGIS changes in every version. I thought I would cover some quick topics that people seem to miss and are my favorites. I am listing these in no particular order. BTW, this is NOT 10.2.

  1. I find myself telling long-time users about map packages, which came about in v10.0. Why use map packages?
    • It's a perfect way to package your map document and ALL your data in one neat file. It may be big, particularly if you have imagery, but it is easy to create and creates a 'status quo' of your project.
    • Use as a backup. Keep in mind there are other ways.
    • FTP a copy to a partner, contractor, or as a FOIA response using ArcGIS Online. 
    • You don't HAVE to use ArcGIS Online for getting a copy to a partner. But hey, it's FREE!
    • Note: if you have a join, the properties don't seem to get copied but the table gets copied. You have to rebuild the join. I hope esri fixed that at 10.2.
  2. As with map packages, I still seem to be teaching long-time users about layer packages (v9.3). It basically packages up all the properties of a layer plus the data. 
    • Same advantages as map packages.
  3. So here is something I can't believe some people don't know yet... A layer file! (v8.0?) Don't be embarrassed if you don't know. Just read up on it and use them! (I had to add this, since I was going down this list.)
  4. Use Cntrl-F for searching.
    • Use it in Help while your searching a page for a string you're interested in.
    • Use it in ArcMap to open the Search window. 
    • In the comments, add some of your favorite uses for Cntrl-F.
  5. Calculating geometry values. You can calculate area, length, perimeter, centroid, and point coordinates in a table just by right-clicking the name of a text or numeric field and choosing Calculate Geometry. (v9.2) There's even a way to calculate Ares... (not Acres). Anyone use Ares??? Where is it useful? Comment below if you know.
  6. Tired of Full Extent tool taking you to some extent that is much bigger than your area of interest? Create a custom full extent. It's easy to do with the data frame properties. (v9.2)
  7. I love Connections! But the full pathname is sometimes ugly. You can rename the connection to anything you wish. (v9.2)
  8. Need to pan and don't want to click the pan tool? There are three options I'm aware of:
    • Press the C key on your keyboard and the tool switches to the pan hand.
    • Press your mouse wheel and pan away! (v9.2)
    • Use your arrow keys.
  9. You know how to zoom to a layer's extent by right-clicking and choosing Zoom to Layer. Shortcut this by pressing Alt and clicking on the layer. (v9.2)
  10. You can view multiple tables in ArcMap by dragging and dropping the table's tab to the position you want it. (v10.0)
  11. Want to print a table? Press Cntrl-P. (v10.1)
Do you have any favorite whispers or praxes? Tell me about them in the comments. 

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