New Century and Integrity Plus Blog

ArcMap Tips & Tricks: Part III

Posted by Andy Sauer on Jul 11, 2017 10:00:00 AM

In the second  installment of our ArcMap tips and tricks we walked through creating keyboard shortcuts. In this last portion we'll be discussing finding PODS feature classes and Ctrl and Alt key shortcuts.   

To find PODS feature classes faster, turn on the Contents Panel in the ArcCatalog pane and then Sort by Type

The most common method to add new feature classes to your map is to use the ArcCatalog pane that’s built into ArcMap. Users connect to their database, scroll to find the feature class, and drag and drop into the map space.

tip5-pic1.pngIf you have done this before, then you know that the list of tables and features in a PODS database is very long, and it can be difficult to find the feature class of interest, mostly because non-spatial tables are intermingled with spatial feature classes. So, instead of scrolling around at the root level of the database looking at everything simultaneously, I recommend using the Contents Panel. This Panel allows you to sort the contents of your database in order to separate features classes from tables.

  • In the Catalog pane, click Toggle Contents Panel to turn it on (it will appear in the lower half of the pane).


  • Click your database connection once to highlight it.


  • If necessary, change the Panel view to Details.
  • In the Contents Panel, click the Type header to sort the contents so that the SDE Feature Class is on top.

Now, locating a feature class is much easier because you have sorted out all of the non-spatialized tables. More good news, these choices persist session to session, so from this point forward your feature classes will always be on top.

Ctrl-key shortcuts in the Table of Contents are well-known, but don’t forget about Alt-key shortcuts

When I visit clients, I find most users know about the Ctrl-key shortcuts available in the Table of Contents. As a friendly reminder:

  • Ctrl + a single checkbox will turn all layers in that group on or off
  • Ctrl + a single expand icon will collapse or expand all layers in that group

However, most users do not know about the Alt key shortcuts in the Table of Contents.

  • Alt + a single checkbox will leave that layer on but turn all others off
  • And my favorite: Alt + clicking on a layer name zooms to the extent of that layer on the map

 We hope our series of ArcMap tips and tricks helped ease your daily activities. Want to talk about other Esri tools we work with? Catch us at the Esri User Conference this week.  

Topics: Esri, ArcMap

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