Failed to add attribute index in field . General Function Failure

Last Published: April 25, 2020

Error Message

Applying an index to a shapefile or dbase file in ArcCatalog returns:

"Failed to add attribute index in field <aFieldName>.
General function failure"


The shapefile and dbase file have read-only permissions. Attribute indexes cannot be created for shapefiles or dBASE files that are read only.

Solution or Workaround

  • If the data is local, change the permissions for the shapefile or dbase file.

    A. Start Windows Explorer.
    B. Navigate to the shapefile
    C. Select the files associated with the shapefile (SHP, DBF, SHX, PRJ, SBN, SBX).
    D. Right-click and select Properties.
    E. Uncheck the Read-Only option.
    F. Click Apply and OK.

  • If the data is remote, have your system administrator change the file permissions.

Article ID:000002948

  • ArcMap 8 x

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