Esri ArcPad Exchange Format (AXF) Reader

Licensing options for this format begin with FME Desktop Professional Edition.

The Esri ArcPad AXF Reader allows FME to read the ArcPad AXF file format. This format is the native format of Esri’s ArcPad product.

Note about Windows 8: Note that due to limitations with Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition 3.0, this reader will not function on the Microsoft Windows 8 operating system.


An ArcPad AXF file is a single file that is made up of multiple components:

  • Feature Layers, which can be thought of as a representation of the feature data. The feature layer defines the symbology, forms, layer name, layer folder (for grouping), and layer icon for a feature table. There can be multiple feature layers defined for a single feature table.
  • Feature Tables, which contain all of the data for the feature class, including the geometry and attribute data. The feature table stores the feature’s geometry, attributes, and projection metadata.
  • Data Tables, which are data tables that have no spatial component (for example, related tables and coded value domains).
  • Files, which include any external file used by the ArcPad AXF file (for example, script files).
  • Properties of the ArcPad AXF file (for example, the date and time when the ArcPad AXF file was created).

The AXF file can also store the following:

  • Customization for each feature layer, including custom forms and scripts
  • Coordinate system meta data
  • Spatial and attribute indexes, which are automatically maintained
  • Icons for feature layers
  • Data rules, such as subtypes, coded value domains, and range domains
  • Relationships between feature tables and data tables

An ArcPad AXF file is a Microsoft SQL Server Compact Edition relational database. All data in ArcPad AXF files is stored using Unicode character encoding, eliminating the need to specify a codepage for AXF files.

The ArcPad AXF Reader for FME will only read:

  • Feature Tables
  • Data Tables
  • Coordinate system

Reader Overview

The ArcPad AXF reader produces FME features for all feature layers and data tables held in a ArcPad AXF file. The ArcPad AXF reader extracts features one at a time from the file and passes them on to the rest of FME for further processing.