import arcpy
sourceWorkspace = "C:\\Users\\tx8p90\\Desktop\\Lesson2"
targetProjection = "C:\\Users\\tx8p90\\Desktop\\python excercise data\\Lesson1\\contourlines.shp"
listDataSet = arcpy.ListDatasets(sourceWorkspace)
    for x in listDataSet:
        outputDataset = sourceWorkspace + "\\projected_" + x
        arcpy.Project_management(x, outputDataset, targetProjection)
        print "Reprojection successful"
    print arcpy.GetMessages()
    print "failed"

I have started learning Python for ArcGIS last week and have a simple script to reproject all the datasets in a folder. The script says "syntax error- invalid syntax" but I can't find anything. Can someone please have a look? It seems something very basic but I'm pretty new so I don't see it at the moment. Also running this in ArcGIS prints "failed" right away. And the files are in place in the right folders. I have already checked.


Ok just at least the syntax error has disappeared by just writing the code again by removing those 3 dots at the beginning of each line. But still I get "Failed" as output.

  • python.org/dev/peps/pep-0008
    – ianbroad
    Jan 22, 2015 at 2:08
  • 1
    Please edit your question and post your code as code instead of as an image (hint: use the {} button above the question when it's in edit mode).
    – user2856
    Jan 22, 2015 at 3:25
  • What is a .shp file doing as a targetProjection argument? According to the help, that is supposed to be a .prj file.
    – whuber
    Jan 23, 2015 at 20:41

3 Answers 3


listDataSet and listDataset are two different objects (capitalization matters in Python). It is looking for all the 'x' in 'listDataset', but 'listDataset' does not exist ('listDataSet' does, though. Try that).

  • Done. Doesn't change anything. Still same syntax error with pythonwin and Arcmap prints failed right away.
    – Salman
    Jan 23, 2015 at 13:35

Use describe object and get spatial reference (SR) from it. Specify it as a target projection in the tool, e.g.

arcpy.Project_management(input_features, output_feature_class, SR)
  • Please expand your answer a bit, so everyone will have an easier time applying it. If I understand correctly, he should extract the srid from the file, not pass it directly to arcpy. Jan 21, 2015 at 23:29
  • I extendec my answer
    – FelixIP
    Jan 22, 2015 at 0:54
  • Shit! Even this changes nothing. Same invalid syntax error in Pythonwin and nothing happens in Arcmap after running the code. With this I don't even get the 'Failed' print out.
    – Salman
    Jan 23, 2015 at 13:40

Okay so I finally figured this out. It was a stupid mistake on my part. The files I had in the specified folders were actually feature classes and not datasets. Anyway it is not possible to create a dataset inside a folder. It can only be done inside a geodatabase. So for someone who knows their way around with ArcGIS, they could have noticed that I had just a folder in the code but I was calling ListDataSets() function which is wrong. Using ListFeatureClasses() solved the issue and the files were properly reprojected. Thanks for all the inputs.

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