I am using ArcMap 10.2 and have connected to my Oracle database, and can see the tables in Catalog. However, when I try to add a layer I get "Could not add the specified data object to the map. Underlying DBMS error[ORA-00936: missing expression]"

I am able to add this Oracle layer to other GUIs such as FME Data Inspector and QGIS. I have added both spatial and non-spatial indexes and have a primary key.

I have been able to connect to and show layers in other Oracle databases in our network, just not from this database. I connected to this database as a user that has select, update, delete, and insert permissions.

Any suggestions?

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure if this is your issue but I have run into problems in the past when trying to add Oracle tables from databases that do not have the SDE framework installed or a table that is not registered with SDE. You can try using the "Add Query Layer" option from "Add Data" in the file menu.

The Add Query Layer tool is my first fallback option when I'm having issues accessing my Oracle tables in ArcMap.

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I had the same issue on one of our tables. We are using a ORACLE 12c DB with the "SDO_GEOMETRY" type. The table would not draw in ArcMAP 10.4.1 showing the following error: Underlying DBMS error[ORA-00936: missing expression].

I my case it seems that the table had a reserved work in it. Not necessarily a Oracle reserved word, but more a SDE or ArcGIS reserved word. The column name was "COMMENTS".

To resolve the issue I used the query layer option and tested the columns as I try to pass the validation of the query using the button provided.

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