Working with geodatabases in the Catalog window
Geodatabases contain many of the datasets that you work with in ArcGIS. For example, each layer in your map references a dataset, and many of these datasets are managed in a geodatabase.
Each ArcMap document has a default geodatabase. Plus, you might want to work with data from additional geodatabases. To support this, you can add geodatabase connections in the Catalog window. Once you have a connection, you can add data from the geodatabase to your map as layers, reference datasets in geoprocessing tools, and so on.
Connecting to geodatabases
The way you connect to and work with geodatabases in the Catalog window depends on the type of geodatabase.
All connections can be made in the tree view of the Catalog window.
File and personal geodatabases
To connect to a file or personal geodatabase, make a connection to the folder that contains the geodatabase. Click the geodatabase to display its contents in the Catalog window.
SQL Server Express geodatabases
There are two ways to connect to geodatabases in a SQL Server Express instance:
- For working with datasets (such as to add layers and edit the data) in SQL Server Express geodatabases, you can create a connection under the Database Connections node in the Catalog window. See Connecting to an ArcSDE geodatabase in SQL Server Express for instructions.
- If you need to administer the SQL Server Express instance and its corresponding geodatabases, make a connection under the Database Servers node in the Catalog window. See Adding a database server to ArcGIS Desktop and Connecting to a geodatabase on a database server for instructions.
Enterprise ArcSDE geodatabases
You make connections to enterprise ArcSDE geodatabases from the Database Connections node in the Catalog window.
The information you provide to make this connection varies depending on the database management system (DBMS) and type of connection you use at your site. If you are unsure of what type of DBMS or connection you should use, ask your ArcGIS administrator.
See Connecting to an ArcSDE geodatabase from the Catalog window for instructions.
Setting a default geodatabase
Once you create a connection to a geodatabase in the Catalog window, you can set that geodatabase to be the default geodatabase for your map. That means all datasets you add to the map or create as output from the map are automatically stored in this geodatabase unless you specify a different geodatabase.
Default geodatabases are set per map, so you can have a different default geodatabase for different maps. See Setting the default geodatabase for more information.
Adding data to a map from a geodatabase connection in the Catalog window
To add data to a map, you can drag the data from the geodatabase connection in the Catalog window to the ArcMap window or table of contents. See Adding layers to a map for more information.