GIS Data Menu for ArcMap
The GIS Data Menu is a dockable window for ArcMap that provides a tool for organizing layer files (*.lyr) into categories. The Data Menu uses a tree view window to display layers grouped by categories. The window can be displayed or hidden by clicking the “Data Menu” button . Once a category is expanded, the user can double click on a layer or right click and select “Add Layer” and it is added to the map. This tool was originally developed for use in a multi-user environment to provide easy access to enterprise base data but, it is also beneficial to the single desktop user to have easy access to commonly used data. This tool minimizes the amount of folder navigation when adding data.
The layers and categories can be customized by editing a MS Access database called Layers.mdb. This database has two tables (Layers and Categories) and an input form for each to simplify data entry. Three pieces of information are required for each layer, the path on disk, the name, and the category it belongs to. If a layer is entered without a category or a category is typed in that is not in the categories table, the layer will not appear in the Data Menu. After making changes to the database, you must restart ArcMap before the changes will appear.
To view the metadata for the source dataset of the layer file, right click on a layer file and select “View Metadata” . This will open the Metadata viewer that allows viewing metadata with your choice of stylesheets.