Invalid column definition ... exceeds the maximum column name length of 31

Last Published: April 25, 2020


Overlay tools fail with the following error message:

"Invalid column definition[geoprocessing_SDE_Featureclass_Field_1 exceeds the maximum column name length of 31.]"


When using the buffer command, or any of the overlay tools, if the same field name is in more than one input the field names are differentiated in the output by concatenating the input field name plus the fully qualified table/featureclass name. In some cases it is possible to exceed the 31 character limit of the underlying database.


Follow the steps below.

  1. Write the output to a personal geodatabase, in which the field name length limit is higher.
  2. Use ArcToolBox > Data Management Tools > Layers and Table Views > Make Feature Layer to alter the field names in the new layer.
  3. Use ArcToolBox > Data Management Tools > Features > Copy Features to copy the features back into SDE.

Article ID:000007249

  • ArcMap 9 x

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