A quick tour of working with nonversioned data

Editing nonversioned data that is stored in an ArcSDE geodatabase is the equivalent of performing standard database transactions. You perform a transaction within the scope of an ArcMap edit session. You start the edit session and perform the required operations, such as adding, deleting, or moving features, and updating attributes. When you save your edits, the edits you made are committed to the geodatabase as a single transaction. If you don't want to commit the changes to the geodatabase, you must quit the edit session without saving. This rolls back all the edits you made since you opened the edit session or since your last save. Each transaction can include as few or as many operations as required, provided they fall within a single edit session.

When you edit nonversioned data in an ArcMap edit session, you edit the data source directly; nonversioned edit sessions do not store the changes in other tables like versioned edit sessions do. This avoids the overhead of managing these extra tables and allows you to easily adapt third-party applications so that they can read and edit the data. However, the drawback is that since you edit the data source directly, you cannot undo or redo an individual edit if you make a mistake. The only way to undo edits is to undo all edits by quitting the edit session without saving.

You can only edit nonversioned simple data—points, lines, polygons, annotation, and relationships. You cannot edit feature classes in a topology or geometric network. This is because when you edit a feature in a network or topology, not all the features in the network or topology lock, which means other editors can edit another part of the network or topology in a way that conflicts with your edits.

When you edit nonversioned data in an ArcSDE geodatabase, you must take into consideration DBMS behavior such as locking, isolation levels, and DBMS constraints and triggers used to enforce data integrity. For details, see the corresponding topics:

Concurrency and locking

Isolation levels

Working with data integrity features

Editing nonversioned data is intended for single-user editing only. If multiple users are going to edit the same dataset, it is recommended that versioned editing be used. Edits to nonversioned data performed by multiple users lead to issues with locking, isolation levels, and database management system constraints and triggers used to enforce data integrity by the database.

To edit nonversioned data in an ArcMap session, you need to do the following:

  1. Make sure the data is registered with the geodatabase.

    All datasets created with ArcGIS Desktop are automatically registered with the geodatabase. The only time you have to worry about registering data with the geodatabase is if you created the data outside ArcGIS Desktop; for example, if you created a table using the sdetable command. To learn how to register the data with the geodatabase, see Registering a layer with a geodatabase.

  2. Make sure the data is not registered as versioned.

    When a dataset is created in the geodatabase, it is not registered as versioned. If it is an existing dataset that you have already registered as versioned, you can unregister it.


    Any versioned edits that have been made to the dataset without being reconciled and posted to the geodatabase will be lost if you unregister as versioned; therefore, be sure the dataset does not contain any such unposted edits before unregistering it as versioned.

    To learn more about unregistering data as versioned, see Registering data as versioned and Unregistering data as versioned.

  3. Configure your ArcMap edit session to perform nonversioned edits.

    To learn how to do this, see Configuring an ArcMap edit session to perform nonversioned edits.