# How to SUM field and then insert into NULL column?

I am only in the beginning stages of learning Python.

I have a column, 'QUANTITY_SOLID', that I want to take the sum of all of its rows. I understand I can do this with 'SUMMARY_STATISTICS', but i'm not trying to create another entire table nor do anything other than simply SUM up that column. Once I have it summed up, I want to insert the sum into a new NULL field that I have created - I am attempting to do this via the 'CALCULATE_FIELD' tool.

• Are you looking for a Python scripting solution or do you need to do this entirely in the field calculator?
– Aaron
Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 21:21
• @ Aaron, Honestly either would be fine. I'm trying to learn as much Python as I can but learning how to do it either way would be great. Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 21:32
• I think JumpinInTheFire is appropriate! You need to use a cursor, in this case an arcpy.da.searchcursor and arcpy.da.updatecursor. Google that and if you have difficulty understanding them I'll provide some code. Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 21:34

Cursors are the way to go for this type of problem.

First, create a list of values using a Search Cursor and a generator expression:

b = sum(row[0] for row in arcpy.da.SearchCursor(fc, 'QUANTITY_SOLID'))


Then run an Update Cursor to populate the QUANTITY_SOLID_SUM field:

with arcpy.da.UpdateCursor(fc, ['QUANTITY_SOLID_SUM']) as cursor:
for row in cursor:


Finally, update the rows with the value from the generator

    row[0] = b
cursor.updateRow(row)


import arcpy

# Define the feature class
fc = r'C:\path\to\your\fc'

# Use a generator expression to populate a list from the 'QUANTITY_SOLID' field
b = sum(row[0] for row in arcpy.da.SearchCursor(fc, 'QUANTITY_SOLID'))

with arcpy.da.UpdateCursor(fc, ['QUANTITY_SOLID_SUM']) as cursor:
for row in cursor:
row[0] = b
cursor.updateRow(row)

• I like that Aaron for the simplicity! Please note JumpinInTheFire that that is not a field calculator expression. Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 21:41
• Awesome, thank you both for the help, I greatly appreciate it. I didn't intend for you to write the code (just to push me in the right direction), but either way thanks! Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 21:51
• There's no need to sum up the values each iteration; remove it from the for loop. For that matter, you can pass a generator expression directly into sum, a la summed = sum(row[0] for row in arcpy.da.SearchCursor(fc, 'QUANTITY_SOLID'))
– Paul
Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 22:14
• Good call @Paul. Post updated to address comments.
– Aaron
Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 22:23