Calculating Extents in the Field Calculator

Here's a little shortcut.  You can calculate extents in the Field Calculator dialog using:

dim Output as double
dim pGeom as IGeometry

set pGeom = [shape]
Output = pGeom.Envelope.XMin

Choose advanced, paste what is above and set your field equal to Output. 

NOTE: If you want to add the values in Decimal Degrees or Web Mercator there's an app for that.  Ask Tim Williams how to install his Calculate Extent button.

Shapefile to Google Earth kml - Customize Symbol Properties and Labeling (NO PROGRAMMING REQUIRED!)

Although there is a tool in ArcToolbox (Layer to KML) that allows you to convert your ArcGIS file to a Google Earth KML file, this tool gives you no options for customizing how the information is displayed.

Let me present to you the opensource (aka FREE) Shp2kml tool:

Note:  The Download link is actually half way down the webpage, the large Start Download button at the top of the page is part of an ad for a different product.

Step 1:  Choose your input file and coordinate system.

Step 2: Decide which attribute you want to use as the label and check 'Mouse Roll over Effect' if you want to highlight a feature when the mouse is moved over it.

Step 3: Decide what color and transparency (opacity) you features will be.

Step 4: Decide what attribute information you would like in the pop-up balloon when a feature is clicked or selected and customize the balloons symbology.

Step 5: Give the kml layer a name and any descriptive information you would like and your done!




Citrix ArcMap 10 Setup

First things first, if you're interested in using ArcMap 10, make sure you update your Citrix client, first. You can do so at the login screen. Just click the link above the username/password fields. If there is not a message, you should be up-to-date.


Performing the following steps will improve your ArcMap 10.1 performance in Citrix.

1) Open ArcGis 10 in Citrix  (Formerly known as ArcMap) 

  • Getting Started dialog opens
  • Click ‘Open’


  • Open the Catalog window
    • *Note: Starting at ArcGIS 10, Catalog is now included inside of the "ArcMap" application

  • Click “Connect to folder” 
  • Dismiss the “folder can’t be used” dialog by clicking “OK”
  • Type “O:” or browse to “O” drive, click “OK”
  • You now can connect to “O” drive folders in your session. You might need to do this for other drives, Like the K or Q.



  • We recommend personal geodatabase because of their portability and ease of access. Some users might need a file geodatabase.
  • In the ArcCatalog window, to the location on the O-drive where you’d like your geodatabase to live
  • Right-click the folder, click “new” --> “personal geodatabase”

  • Name the geodatabase (default will work)
  • Right-click on the new geodatabase and click “make default geodatabase”



  • Click “file” --> “map document properties”

  • Verify that the “default geodatabase” is the geodatabase you just created, if not, set it here by clicking the browse icon



  • Next to Pathnames, “Store relative pathnames to data sources” should be checked
  • Click OK
  • Click “File” --> “Save As…”. Name it something like CitrixDefault.mxd

  • Close ArcMap, Reopen
  • The next time you open, select this document so that your settings are saved



In general, you’re changing the default .mxd and geodatabase to open from O: drive to enable write privileges (no access is currently granted to write to the C: drive on the Citrix servers). Just need to do this one time!


GIS Support: Arc doesn't start. Error: Cannot find SERVER hostname in network database OR The lookup for the hostname .. failed


On a local installation of ESRI's ArcGIS desktop, this error appears on startup and ArcMap will not load.


‘Provide your license server administrator with the following information:

Cannot find SERVER hostname in network database

The lookup for the hostname on the SERVER line in the license file failed. This often happens when NIS or DNS or the hosts file is incorrect.  FLEXlm error: -14,7. System Error: 11001 “WinSock: Host not found (HOST_NOT_FOUND)” ‘


We do like to encourage IDFG folks to use Citrix. Consider using Citrix for your ArcGIS useIf you don't see the option to use ArcGIS, send us a support ticket and we'll get you on the user's list.



The problem is that your copy of ArcGIS desktop isn't looking at a valid licensing server. 

To fix it, follow these steps:

  1. Open "ArcGIS Administrator." It's in Start --> Programs --> ArcGIS 

Depending on your version of ArcGIS, the administrator dialog will look different. But what you'll want to do is "change" the server. The basic IDFG ArcGIS License Server for ArcView is "IFWISARC"

  1. "Change" the server to IFWISARC and click OK. You should be off and running.


Thank you, Brian for bringing this to our attention.


Multi-line & Multi-colored Labels in ArcMap

Right-click the layer you would like to create multicolor/multi-line, choose Properties… and go to the Labels tab, and click the “Expression…” button.

For example, to have the New ID on top and the Old ID on the bottom:


To have each a different color:

“<CLR Red=’255′>” & [New_ID] & “</CLR>” &vbnewline&”<CLR blue=’255′>”&[Old_ID]&”</CLR>”

The tricky part was figuring out that you had to put double quotes around the formatted text, and drop the normal double quote down to a single quote around the 255.


Create a Circular ArcMap Data Frame

Ever wished you could create a circular data frame to highlight an area on your map?  Just follow these steps:

  1. In the data frame properties (Size and Position Tab) make the height and width the same.                           

  2. In the data frame properties (Frame Tab) ►Border Section change the Rounding to 100% ► Background Section change the Rounding to 100%.



Map Packages: Easily Share ArcMap 10 Map Documents & Associated Data

A new feature at ArcGIS 10 is the ability to create a map package (file extension of MPK) using all the data that is in a map document (MXD). It will act just like the layer package that was introduced at ArcGIS 9.3.1. The package includes the map document (version 10 mxd) and the data (even if the data is from diverse places).

The map package will self-extract using the ArcGIS File Handler utility (ArcGISFilehandler.exe utility in your Program Files\Common Files\ArcGIS\bin folder, it also automatically installed with ArcGIS Explorer 900), it will by default place the files in your My Documents (XP) / Documents (Vista & Win7) > ArcGIS > Packages.

This is a great way to share a whole map with someone at a different location, however they will need to have ArcGIS 10, it won't work in ArcGIS 9.x. You will also be able to upload map packages to ArcGIS Online.

Revert Back to the ArcMap 9.3 Editing Environment in ArcMap 10

By default, the ArcMap editing environment uses feature templates and the Create Features window when adding new features. Feature templates define all the information required to create a new feature: the layer where a feature will be stored, attributes new features will be created with, and the default tool used to create that feature. In addition, the tools on the Editor and Topology toolbars contain easy-to-use tools to create and edit features.

Due to the usability benefits that feature templates provide, it is recommended that you learn to use them when editing. However, for organizations that are unable to adopt the template-based workflow, there is an option available to revert to the ArcGIS 9 editing environment. This allows organizations that rely on extensive editing customizations to transition at their own pace to the feature template workflow. You can return to using feature templates once you are ready to migrate to that workflow. You can revert by running ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Utilities \AdvancedArcMapSettings.exe, clicking the Editor tab, and unchecking Create features using templates and restarting ArcMap.

Differences between the 9.3 and 10 editing environments

The following are some of the differences you will find when you revert to the ArcGIS 9 editing environment:

  • The Editor toolbar contains the Sketch tool and palette. The contents of the toolbar are returned to how they appeared in ArcGIS 9.
  • Any user interface element used with feature templates, such as the Create Features window, is removed from ArcMap.
  • Edit tasks are used to specify whether features are being created or edited. The Cut Polygons, Reshape Feature, Edit Vertices, Reshape Edge, and Modify Edge tools are removed from the Editor and Topology toolbars, and the Editor toolbar Task list is used to access that functionality.
  • The active layer in the Target drop-down list is the layer in which new features will be created. The exception is when using Copy and Paste and certain feature-creation commands—Buffer, Copy Parallel, Union, and so on. In those cases, a dialog box will appear allowing you to choose the target layer rather than requiring you to set the Target layer on the Editor toolbar prior to accessing the command.
  • The Annotation toolbar and Dimension toolbar contain the tools used to create those feature types.

Data Frame Tools Toolbar

A handy little toolbar you may have never used:

Ever need to rotate a map?  It will even rotate the north arrow in Layout View.

The My Places dialog box lets you create and work with a list of your most frequently used or favorite addresses, locations, features, and spatial extents. You can use this dialog box to navigate around to view these places. You can also annotate your map to show their locations and add the places into the route finding dialog boxes as stops and barriers. Adding items to the My Places list makes it easy for you to store your frequently used addresses, gazetteer locations, features, and extents and use them to navigate around maps and globes.

Click the My Places button  Description: My Placeson the Data Frame Tools toolbar to open the My Places dialog box. You can also open the My Places dialog box by right-clicking a location that you find using the Find dialog box or the Geocoding toolbar and clicking Manage My Places.

Your list of places is available regardless of which map you are using. Places are stored in a separate file on your computer, not in the map document, as is the case with spatial bookmarks. So you work with the same list of places in any application that supports them.

You can add items to the My Places list using the buttons on the My Places dialog box or through the Find dialog box.

  • Right-click an item you find in the Find dialog box or Geocoding toolbar, or any stop or barrier you define in the Find Route dialog box, and click Add To My Places.
  • Select one or more features on the map or globe and click Add From > Selected Feature(s) on the My Places dialog box.
  • Select one or more graphics on the map or globe and click Add From > Selected Graphic(s) on the My Places dialog box.
  • To add a spatial extent to the list, first zoom or pan to the extent you want to add, then click Add From > Current Extent on the My Places dialog box. This option is unavailable if you are working with a globe.

Each place is shown with an icon indicating what type of place it is. Double-click a place to flash and pan to it. Right-click to get a menu of options that apply to the currently selected place or places in the list. You can also click a place's name to rename it and click the column headings to sort the list by type or name.

You can export places to a file on disk. This allows you to share places with other users, for example, you can send a list of point locations to another user via e-mail. Sending a places file saves you from having to send a shapefile or whole geodatabase if you want to quickly share a location (keep in mind, though, that places are just coordinates with a label, and they don't have other attributes or symbology). Saving and loading your places also makes it easy for you to copy the places onto a different machine or install a common set of places, such as study areas, on a number of machines in a workgroup so that all team members can access them. An ArcGIS Place File (.dat) can be loaded into either the My Places list or as spatial bookmarks.

Batching - Running Geoprocessing Tools Multiple Times Automatically

Let’s say you have a polygon shapefile that you want to buffer using 3 different buffer distances.  You can use the Batch command to do this automatically; you just have to fill in the necessary information. (Note: Batch can be performed for any tool in ArcToolbox).

o   Find the Buffer tool in ArcToolbox, right click it and choose Batch… The dialog box will ask you for all of the same information that the regular Buffer tool dialog box asks for, the only differences is you can make multiple entries by clicking the  button.