how to merge several layers and attributes

Discussion created by gisstudent2010 on Dec 24, 2010
Latest reply on Apr 8, 2011 by gisstudent2010
how to merge shapefiles and attribute tables...?

so i have a parts of the world that i want to bring together. and i tried 'merge' but instead of overlaying the attributes, it just makes a more attributes.

so, for example, i want to merge USA and Canada
suppose there are 3 columns (both datasets have the same 3 columns) name, area, population.
when i merge them, instead of aligning the columns, so that it makes the list longer, it creates 10 columns. does that make sense?
so it looks like this:

name | area | population | name_1 | area_1 | population_1 |
usa      123   123123123     can          123       123123123

but i want it to look like this:
name | area | population
usa      123   123123123 
can      123   123123123

i just want to be able to merge them together so that the attributes also come together in the same column too .... which wouldn't be a problem to do manually if i had just one or two datasets and 3 attributes, but i'm merging together about 15 layers, each with about 18 attributes.

do you know if there's a way to do that? i think there is a very easy way to do this, but i just can't seem to figure it out for the life of me. tips anyone? i'm looking to get this done by 12/28!