GIS Tips – Be more efficient without trying

Just over 10 years ago I was introduced to ESRIs ArcGIS 8 and I used to work mostly with editing topographic data. At the time, I was sat next to a guy called Neil, who would run through his work in half the time I would and to see him work was impressive….He would use the mouse with his right hand and with the left he would be pressing keys on the keyboard, it was like something out of “Minority Report”.

After seeing him get a rather healthy bonus for reaching well over his target(s), I decided to ask him how he did it, all he did was post me a PDF file, that one PDF file changed the way I used ArcGIS forever and also secured me several bonuses and jobs throughout the years.

Here is the latest version of the PDF

ArcGIS Modelling tools are all well and good but useless when you are doing the mundane editing and map output, what you need are SHORTCUTS! True, it is tricky to begin with, but it is like touch-typing, once you have it cracked, you can double your output!

Here are some of my favourite time savers:

  • When working on any map, I have my fingers over the < & > keys, you can go between extents while scrolling around a lot easier
  • Holding CTRL and clicking on the data layer in the table of contents opens the attribute table…no more clicking around the properties!
  • SPACEBAR turns layers on and off!
  • Hold down ALT and select a layer in the table of contents and the map will zoom to that layers extent.

They are all things that you can do relatively quickly anyway but just think – rather than going to the properties box and selecting the relevant feature, you are removing 2 or sometimes 3 or more steps and throughout a whole day those seconds can add up to hours!

You can also find this PDF on my GIS Data Sources

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