Tabular data sources

ArcGIS allows you to work with data from a variety of sources. You can view tabular information in ArcMap and in ArcCatalog. The source of the data may determine the level of functionality that is available, though. For example, text files and data accessed through an OLE DB database connection are read-only in ArcGIS.

The table below contains information about different tabular data sources and what you can do with them in ArcGIS.

Data source


Geodatabase (personal, file, and multiuser)

Create, delete, read, write. ArcInfo or ArcEditor is required to create or edit tables in ArcSDE geodatabases.

Feature layer attribute tables

Attribute tables are automatically created when the feature class is created. Assuming the feature class is writable, its attribute table is also writable.


Create, delete, read, write. Some field types, such as Raster or BLOB, are not supported in dBASE tables or shapefile attribute tables.


Create (requires ArcInfo or ArcEditor), delete, read, write. INFO tables and coverage feature class attribute tables cannot be edited in ArcGIS Desktop.

Microsoft Excel

Read when accessed directly in ArcGIS or through OLE DB.

Microsoft Access (when not a geodatabase)

Read when accessed through OLE DB.

Other data sources accessed through OLE DB


Text files


Supported tabular data sources in ArcGIS