ArcGIS: Transfering Attributes Between Features

I've been copying attributes from one feature class to another for a swimming pools dataset. The problem is that its highly repetitive and dull copying the attributes across and it's driving me nuts. Because the features of one layer are not topologically aligned and there are often duplicate results i can't just do a bulk transfer using python script.

I dug around the ESRI geonet and discovered this tutorial. This tool is called Spatial Adjustment and is nested under the Editor toolbar.


  1. Click the Spatial Adjustment menu and click Attribute Transfer Mapping.
  2. Click the Source Layer drop-down arrow and choose a layer.
  3. Click the Target Layer drop-down arrow and choose a layer.
  4. Click a field in the source layer's Field list box and click a corresponding field in the target layer's Field list box.
  5. With both fields highlighted, click the Add button.
  6. Repeat the process for all other fields that are to be used as criteria for the attribute transfer. You can use the Auto Match command to match multiple fields at once based on common field names.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click the Attribute Transfer tool Attribute Transfer Tool on the Spatial Adjustment toolbar.
  9. Note: Layers must be selectable to transfer attributes. You can make layers selectable on the table of contents. The tool also respects definition queries and scale ranges, so only visible features can be used.
  10. Position the pointer over the source feature and click once. This is the feature that contains the desired attribute data.
  11. Position the pointer over the target feature and click once to transfer the attribute data of the source feature. You can transfer attributes to multiple features by holding down SHIFT.
  12. The target feature is now updated with the source feature's attribute data. When the transfer is complete, you can verify the target feature's attributes by clicking it with the Identify tool Identify on the Tools toolbar.

Essentially you set up the attributes to transfer from left to right.

Then use the tool and select the first feature you want to transfer the attribute to the second feature class. You have to make sure both features can be selected. I also turned on point snapping for convenience.

Below: Purple point to blue point.

I have a definition query on the target layer, it automatically disappears after the field is updated.


I do this so that i can tell that the feature has been updated.

This tool makes the process of transfering attributes into a click fest. It's only slightly less boring than multi-click and copying fest.

attributes, arcgis, transfer, spatial adjustment, attribute mapping, tutorial