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What are the rules for naming valid feature classes and tables in ArcGIS Desktop?

Is there any supporting document which can explain all the dataset naming limitations?

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Depends on what datatype you are using, eh? – Chad Cooper Mar 2 '11 at 15:29
I am using shape file and file geodatabase – iRfAn Mar 2 '11 at 15:33
something poorly documented: don't use a number for the first character of a dataset. – Kirk Kuykendall Mar 2 '11 at 15:38
This is exactly my problem, i am trying to use number for the first character of dataset, no problem in shape file but file geodatabase is giving me error – iRfAn Mar 2 '11 at 15:43
Sorry, but trying to solve a similar problem: while importing in gdb, how do I add date before the name? ex: name.shp -> 120706_name feature class – Luca Moiana Jul 6 '12 at 7:58
up vote 14 down vote accepted

It's in the documentation: Defining feature class properties


Names must begin with a letter, not a number or special character such as an asterisk (*) or percent sign (%).

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This question has been answered by Swingley above... But, in terms of automating this procedure, you could write a script that implements the IFieldChecker.ValidateTableName method. If i remember correctly it returns a corrected name with invalid characters replaced with underscores.

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I am aware of validateTableName but here is my situation, i have shape files "1-Digit postcode.shp, 2-digit postcode.shp" and when i use validateTableName on these two shape file i will get result for both "_Digit_postcode.shp". I think i need to write my own function for this table name validation. – iRfAn Mar 3 '11 at 8:18
it's been a whole so correct me if i am wrong but if you use the workspace parameter, you should in fact get "_Digit_postcode.shp" and "_Digit_postcode_1.shp" – Jakub Mar 4 '11 at 13:04

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