I began with a shapefile of 330,000 features, each having already been geocoded (not that it matters I don't think).
I attempted to join this shapefile to an excel spreadsheet but of course, Arc immediately crashed (this is all being done in ArcMap).
I then broke the shapefile down into around 8 or 9 smaller shapefiles (each with at most 80,000 or so features) and attempted to try the joins again, but that too failed on me.

The field that I am joining on is a concatenation of a 7-10 digit number (found in another field), an underscore, and then a 1 or 2 digit number (also found in another field).
I believe both my shapefiles' attributes tables and the excel spreadsheet are correctly formatting/concatenating the field to be joined on.
I also believe that none of my field names violate the join validation criteria and I have even tried breaking the excel sheet into multiple sheets with fewer records.

The only time a troubleshoot of mine didn't crash Arc was when I joined one single record in the excel sheet to the shapefile I knew contained that record.
In that instance, the tables joined but the information from the single record I had entered into the excel table was not correctly joined to its match in the attribute table. Instead, all of the feature's attribute fields were made null.

Has anyone had an issue similar to this/know what I should do?
I have been troubleshooting for nearly three weeks.

  • The issue with joining to Excel is the fact that Excel isn't a database -- without indexes, you've got an ugly number of comparisons. ArcMap should not be crashing, but you really need to specify which version you are using.
    – Vince
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 15:15
  • please add a tag for the version of arcmap. Also excel version. and if you can post a small screen area of the field names in the join.
    – Brad Nesom
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 15:16
  • If you have an underscore, that means your datatype must be text/string in both the spreadsheet and the shapefile for the join to work. What is the relationship between the two tables - one to many, one to one, many to many? What are you trying to do with this join (describe your shapes and spreadsheet data in more detail)? How many columns in the spreadsheet? Can you post the header row so we can see all the field names? How about uploading somewhere a subset sample of the spreadsheet and shapefile for us to test with? Is the concatenation a value or a formula in the spreadsheet?
    – Chris W
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 21:01

1 Answer 1


It may crash because you are joining directly excel table.

These datatypes don't have an OID or Index.

You must first work with table in geodatabase using Copy Row or Table to Table geoprocessing.

Then it should work

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.