Modifying a spatial grid index

Functionality limited in ArcView.

You can alter the spatial grid index of feature classes in file geodatabases or ArcSDE geodatabases that use the following geometry storage types:

If this functionality is inactive, it is likely you are using a geometry storage type that does not use spatial grid indexes.


Modifying the spatial index of a feature class in an ArcSDE geodatabase is available with ArcInfo and ArcEditor only. With ArcView, you can alter the spatial index of a file geodatabase.

If you are unsure whether to recalculate the spatial index, you can always check to see if it's necessary by clicking the Recalculate button on the Feature Class Properties dialog box to see how ArcGIS would update the grid sizes. If the new sizes are roughly the same as the current sizes, you do not need to update the index and can close the dialog box. If the sizes are different, you can click OK to rebuild the index with the new sizes.

Be aware that building a new spatial index for a feature class in an ArcSDE geodatabase is a server-intensive operation—it should not be done on large feature classes when many users are logged in to the server.

  1. Start ArcMap and open the Catalog window or start ArcCatalog.
  2. In the Catalog tree, connect to the geodatabase that contains the feature class for which you want to modify the spatial index.
  3. Right-click the file or ArcSDE geodatabase feature class and click Properties.

    You cannot modify the spatial index of a feature class in a personal geodatabase.

  4. Click the Indexes tab.
  5. You can either let ArcGIS recalculate the grid size or set your own.

    When you use the Recalculate button to update the spatial index of an ArcSDE feature class that is enabled for archiving, the spatial index on the archive table is automatically recalculated. When you use the Edit button to alter the spatial index of the feature class by providing specific grid values, if you want to also recalculate the spatial index on the archive table, you must use the ArcSDE sdelayer command. Consult the ArcSDE Administration Command Reference for details.

    • Click Recalculate to let ArcGIS set the grid size.
    • Click Edit, type one or more grid sizes, then click OK to set your own grid sizes.
  6. Click OK to build the spatial index and close the Feature Class Properties dialog box.