Error: The name of the field is invalid

Error Message

This error occurs when adding a delimited text file to ArcMap produces the error and the selected item could not be added to the map:

"The name of the field is invalid: valid names may contain letters, numbers or underscores. [field_name]"


One or more of the field names contain characters that are invalid for delimited text file data. Letters, numbers and underscores are the only valid characters for delimited text file field names.

Solution or Workaround

  1. Open the delimited text file in a text editor.
  2. Find the field name specified in the error message.

    The word inside the square brackets at the end of the message specifies the offending field name.

  3. Replace the invalid characters with letters, numbers or underscore characters in the field name.

    For example:
    A field named: x-coord can be changed to x_coord
    A field named: roads# can be changed to roads_

  4. Repeat step 3 for all other fields in the text file.