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About sharing feature layer and view data as copies

Hosted feature layers or feature layers published as a reference can be shared with the option to copy data. If you share a feature layer by copying data, an item is created for collaboration participants, and the copied data is used to publish a feature layer for collaboration participants.

Hosted feature layer views are data representations of hosted feature layers. Views allow you to define which features, fields, and areas of interest you want to make available to those viewing the layer. Views, like feature layer items, can be shared as copied data to a collaboration. The data represented in the view is used to create a hosted feature layer in the receiving organization.


If you share both the hosted feature layer and the associated view by copying data, collaboration participants receive two hosted feature layers, one for each item shared. The view relationship between the two items is not preserved.

The owner of the original source item can edit and synchronize changes to participating organizations at a scheduled interval. To use this approach, the sync interval must be set in the collaboration workspace and sync must be enabled on shared hosted or federated feature layers.

If sync is not enabled when you share the feature layer or view with the collaboration workspace, data from the original item is not copied. Instead, the feature layer created for the receiving organization is shared as a reference. In such cases, the sending organization and administrator receive a notification indicating that the item was shared as a reference rather than a copy. To resolve this, the item that was shared as a copy must be unshared from the collaboration, have sync enabled, and be shared again with the collaboration.

When sync is enabled for feature layers, sync status is available for both the collaboration host and collaboration guests.


When a hosted feature layer view is shared as a copy, the view's definition is used to determine what items are present in the participant's subsequent feature layer. If any changes were made to the view's definition after it was shared, these changes are not reflected in the receiving organization's layer, even if sync has been enabled. For view definition edits to be received by collaboration participants, the view must be unshared from the collaboration and shared again to create a feature layer that has the correct view definition.

Supported feature layer and view types for sharing as copies

The following are the types of items that support sharing data as copies:

  • Hosted feature layers in ArcGIS Online.
  • Hosted feature layers in ArcGIS Enterprise, where ArcGIS Enterprise meets the specifications of a base ArcGIS Enterprise deployment.
  • Multilayer feature services when sync is enabled on each layer in the same registration type (for either versioned or nonversioned and archiving).

Some hosted feature layers, such as those created by ArcGIS Tracker and ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server, use the spatiotemporal big data store for data storage. These hosted spatiotemporal feature layers are not supported in distributed collaboration.


The option to share feature layers and views as copies is available if all the following are true:

  • Collaboration participants are using ArcGIS Enterprise 10.6 or later and have access to Send or Send and Receive content.

    At ArcGIS Enterprise 10.5.1, hosted or federated feature layer items can be shared with the option to copy data when the collaboration host is an ArcGIS Online portal.

  • ArcGIS Enterprise participants must meet the specifications of a base ArcGIS Enterprise deployment.
  • Feature layers and views are sync enabled. For feature layers, this can be done during the publishing process or once the service has been published. For views, sync can be enabled by checking Enable Sync on the item's Settings tab once its source layer has been enabled with sync.
    • To enable sync for a feature layer published to a federated server, the data must be prepared appropriately in the enterprise geodatabase. See required data preparation steps for nonversioned and versioned data.


If you want to share edits in a two-way collaboration, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Collaboration participants must be using an ArcGIS Enterprise version of 10.9 or later. The collaboration workspace must be created at 10.9 or later to enable two-way sharing of feature service edits to eligible participants. For more information on workspace and feature layer requirements, see Share content with collaboration groups.

Properties of copied feature layers

When collaboration participants receive copied feature layers and feature layer views, the properties and behaviors described below apply.

Read only

Editing is disabled on feature layer items received in a collaboration because synchronization is one-way only; edits are only synchronized from the sending organization to participants. For this reason, it is recommended that you not enable editing on the layer in the participating organization or create editable views (if the participant is an ArcGIS Online organization) from these feature layers to support editing workflows. Edits made to the same feature in the host and guest organizations are overwritten in the layer in the guest organization from the host during sync.


If a feature layer that supports bidirectional sync is shared with a collaboration workspace that supports the two-way sharing of edits, editing is enabled for the feature layer. For more information, see Share hosted feature layers.

Editor tracking

Enable editor tracking on feature layer items before sending them to collaboration participants. When the data is first copied to the receiving organizations, editor tracking values are reset. Editor tracking dates are set to the current time stamp in UTC, and creator and editor values are set to the publishing user. Date, creator, and editor values are reset because this reflects when the layer was created and who created it in the receiving organization. When syncing, the editor tracking dates from the sending organization are preserved. Therefore, from the time the data is shared, the created layer in the receiving organization contains the dates the edits were made in the sending organization. Creator and editor values for insert and update operations synced into the receiving organization are set to the publishing user from when the feature layer was copied.

It is possible to enable editor tracking on some feature layers in a sending organization and leave other feature layers without editor tracking enabled. How editor tracking is applied in the receiving organization depends on the type of feature layer you send and whether you send from ArcGIS Enterprise or ArcGIS Online. When a feature service has multiple layers and one layer has editor tracking enabled in ArcGIS Online only, the sync process sets the editor tracking values based on the current time stamp and the publishing user.

If you enable editor tracking after adding the feature layer to the collaboration, the layers in the receiving organizations will not have editor tracking enabled.

If you unshare and share the layer to the sending organization's workspace, the layer is recopied to the receiving organization workspaces with editor tracking enabled.

Access control settings are maintained for receiving organizations but have no consequence, since all features are owned by the publishing user in the receiving organizations.

Delete protection

When you share layers as copies in a collaboration from ArcGIS Enterprise to ArcGIS Online, the receiving ArcGIS Online organization can enable delete protection on the layers and views shared with them. If you subsequently unshare these layers, the layers remain in the ArcGIS Online organization. However, edits you make to the unshared layers in your ArcGIS Enterprise organization are no longer synchronized with the layers in the ArcGIS Online organization.


To reinstate sync on the layers, the receiving ArcGIS Online organization must disable delete protection and delete the layers. You can then reshare the items as a copy from ArcGIS Enterprise to the ArcGIS Online organization.

Schema changes

If you change the schema of a feature layer or view in either the sending or receiving organization, those changes are not applied when the workspace is synced. Examples of schema changes include adding or deleting fields, adding or deleting layers in a feature layer, and enabling or disabling attachments. The workspace sync includes only edits (insert, update, and delete operations) to layers or tables that were available at the time the feature layer was shared to the workspace. When there are schema differences, sync applies edits to the matching parts of the schema. For example, if a field is added in the sending organization, the new field is ignored when edits are applied during sync to the receiving organization's copy. To send schema changes to receiving organizations, unshare and share the layer to the workspace.

Time settings

When you copy feature layers and views that have time settings enabled, time is not enabled on the copied feature layer in receiving organizations.

Versioned data

If the data from a feature layer or view in the sending organization is from a versioned enterprise geodatabase, edits made to the published version are sent when the workspace is synced.


A versioned feature layer is shared as a reference if it is configured with the option to move edits to base, as this configuration does not support geodatabase replication. For more information on registering as versioned with the option to move edits to base, see Register and unregister data as versioned.


Attachments included on shared feature layers are also copied and shared to the receiving organization.