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Q:  

I have run into an ArcMap mxd file that has a cell that I am interested in joining to that is defined as 'string'. This is happening in the counties template within my ArcGIS version 9. The cell has a 5 digit value representing a state and county mixed FIPS code (i.e. 26183 ) How do I go about converting the cell to a numeric one?

A:  

You can add a new field to the counties attribute table within ArcMap and make it numeric type (ie., short integer, long integer, double). This is done through the options tab on the bottom of the attribute table. You can define the cell at that point as sort integer or such. After that right click on the new field and choose to calculate. Set the new field equal to the FIPS cell.

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