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Describe attribute fields

Provide a useful, easy-to-read field display name, describe the purpose of each field, and define the type of data each field contains. This information helps people decide whether the data in the layer meets their needs, how best to apply styles to the layer, and gives editors the information they need to update or add attribute values.

The owner of the hosted feature layer or an organization administrator can add this information for each field.

Set a display name

You can change the field name that other users see when they view a hosted feature layer's attribute table. Set a display name that concisely conveys the field contents to help others understand the data.

Changing the display name for a field does not affect the field name stored in the attribute table. Because it's a property of the field and not a field name, the display name can contain spaces and nonalphanumeric characters.

Follow these steps to change the field name that displays in apps that access the attribute table:

  1. Open the item page for the hosted feature layer and click the Data tab to show the table.
  2. Click Fields.

    The fields list shows each field's display name, field name, and data type.

  3. If the hosted feature layer contains more than one layer, use the Layer drop-down menu to choose the layer to alter.
  4. Click the display name of a field to open its details.
  5. Click Edit Edit next to the name and type a new name.

    Keep the name as brief as possible while still conveying the content of the field.

  6. Click Save.

Provide a field description

The field description helps communicate what a field contains without having to use long or complicated field names.

Add field descriptions from each field's detailed view on the Data tab of the hosted feature layer's item page.

  1. Open the item page for the hosted feature layer.
  2. Click the Data tab and click the Fields button.
  3. Click a field name to open its detail view.
  4. Click Edit for the Description value and type a summary of the information that the field stores.

    The field description cannot contain greater than (>) or less than (<) characters.

  5. Click Save to add the field description.

When people use the layer in Map Viewer or Map Viewer Classic, they can access each field's description when setting the layer's style and when they open the table in the map. This information helps them understand how to use and symbolize the data.

Define field value types

To help users and client apps identify how field values should be used or represented, define the types of values that are stored in each attribute field in a hosted feature layer. For example, if you define a text field as a phone number, client apps can format the text in the appropriate manner, such as (123) 456-7890. ArcGIS Enterprise uses field value types to show you the most relevant options when drawing a layer in a map or configuring pop-ups.

Field value types

The following table lists each value type you can assign to a field and what each value type represents:

Field value typeWhat the field contains for each feature

Name or Title

Text that represents a name, title, label, or keyword for each feature.


Text that provides a longer description of the feature, more than just a name or title.

For example, if you have a layer to collect information from the public regarding issues in the community, a field in that layer that allows people to specify the nature of the issue can be defined with the Description field value type.

Type or Category

Field values represent types or categories for group features that are based on a common characteristic, for example, soil type, zoning code, species, or asset type.

Count or Amount

Integers (no decimal) that represent the quantity of a specific attribute.

Percentage or Ratio

Number values in this field reflect the relationship between different quantities, for example, the percentage of males in a population or the ratio between the number of males and females.


A number that reflects a characteristic that you can precisely measure, for example, elevation, distance, temperature, or age.


A number that represents monetary values.

Unique Identifier

The values in this field are used to positively distinguish one feature or entity from another, for example, an assessor's parcel number, a membership ID, or an invoice number.

Each value per entity must be unique, but that does not necessarily mean all the values in this field will be unique for the layer.

For example, if you have two layers—one for employees and one for job sites—both can contain an employee ID unique identifier field. In the employees layer, the employee ID field should contain unique values. In the job sites layer, the employee ID field can contain duplicate values, as an employee may work at multiple job sites. The employee ID field in the job sites layer is still a unique identifier because it distinguishes one employee from another, even though the field does not contain unique values in the job sites layer.

Phone Number

This field stores phone numbers.

Email Address

This field stores email address strings.

Ordered or Ranked

The values in this field represent a feature's status in an ordered or ranked list. For example, a feature can be one of the following:

  • Small, medium, or large
  • First, second, third, or fourth
  • Informational, warning, error, or failure


Only one of two values are possible for each feature. Examples include the following:

  • On or off
  • Yes or no
  • True or false
  • Inhabited or vacant

Location or Place Name

Values in this field represent a geographic location. Examples include a street address, city name, region, building name (such as A.K. Smiley Public Library), attraction name (such as Alameda County Fairgrounds or Cairngorms National Park), postal code, or country.


These fields store a geographic coordinate value such as x, y, z, latitude, or longitude.

Date and Time

Values in this field store explicit dates and times or date references such as days of the week, months, or years.

Add a field value type

Follow these steps to define a field's value type:

  1. Open the item page for the hosted feature layer to which you will add field descriptions.
  2. Click the Data tab and click the Fields button.
  3. Click a field name to open the field's detail view.
  4. Click Edit for the Field Value Type value.
  5. Choose the value type from the Edit Field Value Type drop-down menu.

    Use the definitions in the previous section to help decide which value type to use.

  6. Click Save.

Map viewers set a default style based on the value type information to better represent the field's content.