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ArcView Terminology: Projects, Views, and Themes

Before exploring ArcView, you should learn a few ArcView terms. Some of these terms
have already been briefly mentioned.
Project: A project is the file in which ArcView stores your work. You can keep all
related work in a single project, including tables, charts, spatial views of your data,
map layouts, etc. A project is saved with an .apr file extension. Thus, the file
"Greece.apr" contains all material, (maps, tables etc.) that are related to that project.
When you open a project file again, all its component parts will be just as you left
them, ready to use again. Each project also has a window.

Project Window: The project window is the smaller window on the left of the initial
ArcView window. When you first open ArcView, the title of the Project window is
"Untitled." After you save a project, this window contains the project file's name
( with an .apr extension). It lists all the components of the project, organized by type
(Views, Tables, Charts, etc.). You use this window to add new components to a
project or to open existing ones.

Arc View Project Window

Title Bar

Title of project
window untitled

Icons for
each type of
layouts and


View: A view is the interactive map that you use to display, query, and analyze data in
ArcView. Several map layers--called THEMESare normally displayed in a single
view. You can have more than one view in a project (The name of each View will be
listed in the Project Window).

Theme: "Theme" is the term used for a map layer in ArcView containing both spatial
and attribute data (the latter are in database tables, which you do not see at first). A
Theme is a file containing graphic information required to draw a set of geographic
features together with information about those features. Themes are listed on the left
side of the view window in the Table of Contents along with their legends that
represent them on the map. Examples of themes are streets, buildings, cities, rivers,
countries, railroads, etc. Themes can cover geographic phenomena at any scale, from
small gardens to the entire world.

Table: A Table is a data file that contains rows of information about items in a

particular geographic category (such as hotels, cities, streets, counties, countries, etc.),
with each row representing a different named item (ie, for cities, one row could
represent Athens, another Chora, etc.).

Starting Arc-View in Windows

To open
Select: Start > Programs > Esri > Arcview GIS Version 3.0a > ArcView GIS Version3.0a

Fig. 1

This brings up the project window, which organizes your work: views, tables, charts,
layouts, scripts.
Arc view loads geographic data into views. One view can hold several layers of
geographic data.
Begin by highlighting the View icon and then click New to open an empty view.

To begin a new project click view

and then click on the new button
(or simply double click the view

Fig. 2
Notice the menu bar and buttons change when a view is active.
Arc View data layers are called themes
Arcview files can be identified by the suffix .shp that is appended to the file
name. .shp files are Arc Views native file format and are often referred to as
shape files.

Click View > Add Theme from the menu bar to select a data layer. (or simply
select the


Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Navigate to the
appropriate folder

Add themes:

Click on the check

box to draw each

Add and draw


The new theme

(Greece.shp) has
covered up the
roads and bronze
age sites themes.

Click and hold the left

mouse button in the
legend on the roads
theme, drag it so its
above the other
themes. The view
should redraw.
Repeat this for the
ba_sites theme. The
image should now
look like figure 4.

Arc-view saves work in project files (*.apr). These files store information about
your data sources and the documents you create (views, tables, layouts) but it
does not save your data. ArcView saves the location of your data so that it can
access this information.

You can change the appearance of a theme

with the legend editor

Choose Theme > Edit > Legend or doubleclick on the theme name

This brings up the Palette editor, which

controls the appearance of points, lines,
polygons, and text.

Different elements of a theme (linewidth,

color, text font, etc) can be changed using the
options accessible through the palette editor

menu buttons

Fill button
available fills for
polygon themes

Pen button enables

editing of line width,
line type and

Color button
enables editing of
theme colors.

Point button allows

editing of point type,
size, etc.

Attribute data describes feature data; names and values for points, lines, and



Attribute tables for the active

theme, ba_sites.shp.

Raised boxes indicate the active status of a theme.

The Ba_sites.shp theme, shown above, is an active

Themes can be made active by left clicking on the theme name. A raised box then
appears indicating the active status of the theme. Active themes can be edited within
the view window or within the attribute table. Active themes can also be queried
through the database table

Viewing and editing attribute tables

Left click on the ba_sites.shp theme to make it active. Choose theme > tables from
the menu or select the

icon, this brings up a table associated with the ba_sites.shp

Tool bar for Tables mode.
Records within each table
describe attributes
associated with each feature
(point, line or polygon)

Dont change the

information within the
shape, area, and perimeter
records as this information
is created by the Program to
describe each feature.

Notice the menu and tools change while in the Tables mode. Each record (row)
within the table represents information connected with a different bronze age site.


Left click the ELEV field (column), it should darken in color.

Use the sort button

Left click on the record that has the largest elevation value. The record should
become highlighted in yellow. Minimize the tables screen to reactivate the view
window. Click the zoom to selected icon in the menu

to sort the data according to height.

Zoom to

Zoom to
Zoom to
Zoom to
theme icon selected icon

The point corresponding to the record selected in tables is highlighted. Data entered
in tables is connected to the graphic images displayed in the view. Features selected
through the view window are also selected in the database just as records selected in
the database highlight corresponding features in a view.

Records in Tables can also be queried using the query manager.

Return to tables by selecting the tables icon (as described above). Next select the
create query icon
Create Query

This will bring up the query dialog box.

Use this dialog to quickly query attribute data. To use this interface, double click a
field value (such as Elev), then single click to select an operator (+,-,=,>,< etc.), then
select a value of interest. Click New Set to select records from the table that match
this criteria.


Creating Layouts for Printing

Notice how
the menu

Maps for printing and presentation are done using Layouts

Click the Project window,

and then click the Layouts

Click new to create a new

layout, which will be blank
except for the page outline

Change the default settings

by choosing Layout-Page

Click the landscape icon,

the click OK

You will add a view (your working map) using the Frame tool; the frame tool
actually contains several tools. Click and hold to see the different frame tool icons

Frame tool
(from top to bottom)

add frame
add legend
add scale bar
add North arrow
add chart
add table
add picture


ext tool

To add a frame, highlight the top icon. Move the mouse cursor to the page. Click
and hold near upper left side of page, drag the cursor down to the right button of
page, then release

Click on View1 in the dialog


You may specify scale or

extent, then Click OK

To add the legend, click, hold

and then select the Legend
Frame icon

Click and drag to draw a box on the view where you want the legend, then release the
mouse button. In the dialog box choose View1 as the source


Similarly, using other Frame Tools you can add a scale bar and a North arrow

You can add a Title using the text tool

Experiment with the layout tools and save your work