Shapefile output from the GeoProcessing wizard truncates field names

Last Published: April 25, 2020


Shapefile output from the ArcMap GeoProcessing wizard may have truncated field names.

For example, you have a layer in your map that has a field named WorldPopulation2001. If you use the GeoProcessing Wizard to clip this layer, the output layer retains all fields and values from the input layer, including WorldPopulation2001. However, the long field name is truncated to WorldPopul.


Shapefile attribute tables are stored in dBase format (.dbf); thus, dBase field names are limited to ten characters.

Solution or Workaround

To use longer field names in a Shapefile layer, set up Field Aliases. To avoid truncating field names, choose Geodatabase output when using the GeoProcessing wizard.

  • To use longer field names in a shapefile layer:

    Create an alias for the truncated field name of the output. An alias only pertains to the layer in which it is set. In most cases, it will not carry over to newly created data.

    One exception is output from a Dissolve operation. In this case, ArcMap creates aliases in the output layer automatically.

  • To avoid truncating field names:

    Save your GeoProcessing wizard output to a personal geodatabase. Personal geodatabase fields are not constrained to a length of ten characters.

Article ID:000002872

  • ArcMap 9 x
  • ArcMap 8 x

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