I'm in this position: i have a feature class containing about 6 million entries. I made a summarize and and generated a new table. I joined the two tables and now I need to copy the values from the new table to the original table(only one field). I've created a new field(the same attributes as the field I want to copy from) and tried using field calculator to run OldField = NewField on that. It processes for a few minutes then ArcMap stops working.

Any workarounds?

I've read that the software is 32 bit and can't process such large data-sets, but how can I achieve the wanted result.

  • Are you working from a file geodatabase? Shapefiles have .dbf limits.
    – Aaron
    Jan 21, 2015 at 15:59
  • Shapefiles also get bigger ( and lock files) when in edit or printing mode. Use File Geodatabase and the copy ArcGIS Toolbox>General>copy or calculate field.
    – Mapperz
    Jan 21, 2015 at 16:02

2 Answers 2


I would suggest the following:

  1. Make sure you are performing field calculation on data stored locally on your computer (large calculations over a network will take much longer)
  2. Make sure you run the calculation on a feature class, not on a in-memory joined feature class (so perform the join, export to new feature class, then run the calculation)
  3. Make sure the feature class is stored within a file geodatabase (better performance and as suggested no dBASE limits)
  • I'd add: Make sure an index exists on the join column
    – Vince
    Jan 21, 2015 at 20:43

Another option that may work for you is to use the Data Loader. No need for a join in this case. Right click the table, select Load, and follow the prompts to map your fields and load the data.

  • How do you join two tables using data loader method?
    – artwork21
    Jan 22, 2015 at 3:29
  • this seems a great solution, but I will need to conditionally load data. the table that I need to draw data from is a result of a summarize. I see that it has a query builer, but it only takes in the columns of the table from which I will load data.My query needs to be: When row of ColumntTable1 = row of ColumnTable2 then copy value of DataTable2 to DataTable1 (table1 being the original table, table 2 being the summarized resulting table) Jan 22, 2015 at 8:01
  • @artwork21, the Data Loader isn't used for joins. It basically copies data from one feature class to another, allowing you to map one field to another.
    – recurvata
    Jan 22, 2015 at 12:59
  • somehow using LoadData I've doubled all the field. 5mil entries are now 10mil entries. I messed up big-time. Jan 22, 2015 at 13:15
  • Well, delete the data and try again. As a general rule, it's often a good idea to try something you haven't done before on a copy of your data first.
    – recurvata
    Jan 22, 2015 at 13:22

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