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In a toolbox of mine I want to add a function to add several shapefiles by assigning the datatype to shapefile and enabling the multi-value function.

I have noticed however that ArcMap parses this data as a long string deliminated by a ';' of which I have made into a list by the following.

def main(inputs,...)
    shp_files = inputs.split(';')

However these are still strings in a list and therefore when I run a geoprocessing task the error I receive is that the shapefile has no table 'C'. C being my directory C:. What I need is either a more elegant approach to my current step or a way to add r' ' to surrond each of my list strings.

I assume there must be a way to append each string in a list and add the r '' to indicate that is a pathname.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I will usually generate a feature layer before passing feature classes to geoprocessing functions. You shouldn't need to mess with path names, slashes, etc.

for i,shp_file in enumerate(shp_files):
    ftr_lyr = arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management(shp_file,'ftr_lyr_%d' % i)
    #pass ftr_lyr to geoprocessing tasks within the loop

Alternatively, generate a list of feature layers:

for i,shp_file in enumerate(shp_files):
    ftr_lyr = arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management(shp_file,'ftr_lyr_%d' % i)

#use the list of feature layers in place of your list of shp_files
share|improve this answer
Thanks for your suggestion, I will definitely try that... im especially interested in how much longer it takes to create everything as a layer(yet alone space). I did find a temporary solution as well by using - shp_files = inputs.split(';') /n shp_files = [i.replace("'","") for i in shp_files] – BJEBN Mar 10 '12 at 22:29
A feature layer is simply how Arcmap abstracts access to the underlying data source. The time and memory overhead is negligible. – tharen Mar 11 '12 at 3:47

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