A quick tour of exporting data
Exporting data allows you to share data across multiple geodatabases and optionally change the format of the data.
There are several ways to export data using ArcMap or from the Catalog tree:
- Using the context sensitive menu in the Catalog tree
- Using geoprocessing tools
- Using the Extract Data Wizard in ArcMap
- Using the Export Data command in ArcMap
Exporting data using the context-sensitive menu or through geoprocessing employs the Conversion tools in ArcToolbox. Refer to the Conversion toolbox help for information regarding these tools and their parameters.
ArcGIS allows you to export all or any part of a geodatabase to an export file, providing you with a flexible way to transfer data.
You export entire feature datasets, feature classes, or tables with the Export XML Workspace Document wizard. You can also export schema without any data.
Exporting feature datasets, classes, and tables
When you export feature datasets, classes, and tables to an export file, you export any dependent data as well. Therefore, if you export a geometric network or topology class, then all the feature classes in the network or topology export. If you export a feature class or table in a relationship, the relationship class, along with the feature class or table it relates to, also exports. The same is true for a feature class that has feature-linked annotation: the feature-linked annotation exports too. For a feature class that has a domain, subtype, or index, the domain, subtype, or index also exports.
When you import feature datasets, classes, and tables from an export file, you create new feature datasets, feature classes, and tables and import any dependent data as well.
Exporting these items and importing them into another geodatabase is the equivalent of using the Copy and Paste commands in the Catalog tree to copy data from one geodatabase to another. Both processes create new feature datasets, classes, and tables and transfer any dependent data.
Export files created by exporting feature datasets, classes, and tables may also be referred to as XML workspace documents.
Exporting features or records
When you export features or records to an export file, you export attributes and records without any dependent data. For example, if you export features from a feature class that uses a domain or has linked annotation, the domain or annotation doesn’t export with the features. However, field properties, such as the alias, whether to allow null values, and the default value, do export.
When you load features or records from an export file, you load them into an existing feature class or table.
You can load with ArcMap or from the Catalog tree.
Export files created by exporting features or records may also be referred to as XML recordset documents.
Choosing an export file type
You can export geodatabase data to one of three file types: XML, ZIP, or Z file.
If you export to an XML file, you export to an uncompressed text file. Exporting to this file type is sufficient if you're exporting schema only. However, if you're exporting data, it is best to export to one of the other types to reduce the size of the file you create. Export data to this file type only if you're certain you don't want to compress the data.
If you export to a ZIP file, you export to a text file compressed inside a ZIP file. This is the most popular file type because it reduces the size of the file you create, allowing you to save space and transfer the data more easily. You can export to this file type, providing the resulting file doesn't exceed 4 GB.
If you're exporting a large amount of data and know you'll run into the 4 GB limit, export to a Z file, a compressed format that can hold more than 4 GB.
You can import data directly from any of these three file types. For example, there is no need to extract a file from the ZIP archive before importing.
Export format details
The geodatabase export format is an open, published XML format. This gives developers the ability to write applications that read the export file, even if they don't have any software from ESRI. Detailed information on the geodatabase XML schema is available at http://support.esri.com.