Monthly Archives: February 2010

How to Skip or Preserve Certain Characters in Labels

Hello, this is Cassandra with tips on removing or saving characters in label expressions. I recently helped a customer who wanted to label his points without the first two characters in each value. For example, his data looked like this:

Attributes of Wells dialog box

But he wanted the labels to look like this:

To skip the first two characters in each label string, we used the VBScript operator ‘Mid’:

Mid ([field], <#_to_skip>, <#_of_total_string_length>).

So for this example where I’m labeling WELL_IDS, the label expression would look like this:

Mid ([WELLS_ID], 3, 100).

We need to set the number of characters to skip to three instead of two, due to how the Mid operator works. Also, because the total number of characters after the ‘CL’ changes, we can set the total string length to a value larger than any of the strings in the field.

Likewise, you can also use the Left or Right operators to set which characters display. For example, you might want to display the first two characters on one line and the remaining characters on a second line. Using my example values above, the label expression would look like this:

Left ([WELLS_ID], 2) &vbcrlf& Mid ([WELLS_ID], 3, 100).

Or if the string values have a fixed total character length of seven, for example, you could use:

Left ([WELLS_ID], 2) &vbcrlf& Right ([WELLS_ID], 5).

See the ArcGIS Desktop Web Help topic About building label expressions for more information.


Cassandra L. - Desktop Support Analyst

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eSurveys and How They Help Us and You


Hello GIS World – Monte back again from a little blogging hiatus!


What does ESRI Support Services do with all of the comments in eSurveys? How does taking the time to fill out the eSurvey help me as a user? These may be a couple of the questions that come to mind as you are contemplating whether or not to fill out the eSurvey that is sent to you at the conclusion of your Support incident. My hope is to answer these questions for you, let you know more about eSurveys, and also how our response to the eSurveys will be changing in the future.


survey screenshot To obtain a better understanding of eSurveys and possible trends in the comments section, ESRI Support Services (ESS) recently completed a project where we analyzed 3,300 surveys, with comments from you, since the implementation of the new eSurvey back in September 2008. Survey comments were placed into two categories. The first category focused on your experience with ESRI Support Services and was separated into values that were generally positive, negative, or not applicable. We interpreted negative comments as not purely negative, but instead, areas for opportunity or improvement; we will talk more about that in a bit. The second category that the comments were placed into consisted of values including general Support feedback, analyst feedback, products, documentation, communication, solution, responsiveness, Support engagement, and scope of support.


Now to the numbers: of the ~3,300 comments received, about 2,200 contained overwhelmingly positive feedback about the support provided to you, our customers. Focusing on areas for opportunity, product feedback received the most comments, making up 33% of this feedback. This information is invaluable to us, as it helps our development team to address customer issues and concerns regarding our products. Other categories where we will use feedback to make improvements include analyst feedback and communication. We can reflect on the feedback provided by you to make changes and approach situations differently in the future – these efforts are geared to helping you achieve success with our software, as we are always looking to exceed your expectations in the support that we provide.


Overall, the results of this project reflect your perception of the quality of service provided to you based on your feedback. Most of the time the feedback is very positive; although, we sometimes receive feedback that’s tough to swallow, but that is exactly the reason why we send out surveys. While it is great to hear reinforcing and positive feedback, we are a service-based organization and need to understand your needs and seek your feedback to achieve the highest possible standards of customer service. We appreciate customers taking the time to provide feedback on the support we provide. To ensure that it is clear that we value your dedication to our continuous improvement, we will be responding to your feedback. As part of our overall customer centric vision, one of our new upcoming workflows will involve ESS actively contacting individuals based on the results of their surveys. This will give us the opportunity to better understand what we can do to improve the overall customer experience. Thank you for filling out your eSurvey, and we look forward to communicating with you more in the future.


As always, I encourage you to ask questions or leave comments in the comments section. NOTE: You must be logged into your ESRI Global Account to leave comments.


- Monte, Server Unit Manager, Support Services, ESRI



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ArcMap Crashed? Send us your report!

dude crashing to the ground

I know how frustrating it can be when ArcMap or ArcCatalog crashes. A few years ago, I wrote a Knowledge Base article with different methods to resolve these crashes, as well as known issues that may cause a crash. In an effort to resolve these crash issues, ESRI Software Development implemented the crash reporting system. You might have seen this little window pop up the last time the application crashed:

ArcGIS Desktop Application Error dialog box

You may ask yourself, where exactly do these reports go? Why don’t they write me back using the e-mail address I provided?


The error reports you submit are very useful for improving the product’s stability. When an error report is submitted, a server reviews the report to determine what component of the software caused the program to crash. If the behavior has been encountered before, the report is added to the defect report for that issue. But if the behavior is not recognized by the system, then a new defect report is generated to examine that issue. When a defect report is associated with multiple error reports, our product engineers make every effort to resolve the issue for the next service pack.


If you can identify a reproducible set of steps or a particular action that causes ArcMap or ArcCatalog to crash, please check my Knowledge Base article for a known issue in the Related Articles section. If you don’t see your scenario here, please submit your steps to reproduce to ESRI Support Services, and we would be happy to review your issue.


You can find more information about this system in the ArcGIS Desktop Help topics Error reporting for ArcGIS software crash data and Frequently asked questions about error reporting.


Happy Mapping!


- Emeline R., Support Analyst, ArcGIS Server group, ESRI Support Services



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RSS and Atom Feeds – All the News That Is the News At Your Doorstep…or, I Mean, Desktop


Have you subscribed to the Support Center News blog RSS or Atom feed? Do you know what a Web feed is and how to use them to your advantage? I hope to answer the second question for you, which in turn will help you to answer the first question with a resounding ‘YES’.


RSS and Atom feeds are two different, yet similar, types of Web feeds. Web feeds are used for delivering regularly changing Web content to the people who want to read it.


Here are some advantages to subscribing to Web feeds:



  • Retrieves the latest content from the Web site you are interested in, so you can stay easily informed

  • Ensures your privacy by not needing to subscribe to Web sites’ newsletters or other ways they might keep you informed via email

  • All the content that you want to read can be located and read from one place that you designate

Feed Reader or News Aggregator software is what allows you to subscribe to RSS and Atom feeds from various Web sites and display them for you to read and use. There are a variety of feed readers out there: Amphetadesk, FeedReader, NewsGator, Bloglines, Google Reader, and My Yahoo (to name a few). There are numerous other feed readers available.


If you are ever on a Web site and wonder whether or not they have a Web feed available, look for the following icon: Web feed symbol. This icon lets you know that a Web feed is available for that Web site or content. You can click on the icon to set up your Web feed.


The Support Center News blog has both RSS and Atom feeds. Subscribe today and keep yourself up-to-date on all the Support Center news that is fit to blog!


- Collin W., Support Center News blog Content Manager, ESRI Support Services



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