I came across this post and found out about Copy_management().

Is it possible to copy an in_memory feature to another in_memory feature?

I tried to test it using the following code, which fails:

shp = r"D:\test\somefile.shp"

bufferOne = arcpy.Buffer_analysis(shp,r"in_memory\bufferOne",'1 meters')

copyOfFirst = arcpy.Copy_management(bufferOne,r'in_memory\BufferOneCopy')

Trying the exact same thing with absolute paths, instead of in_memory works fine. Therefore I assume you cannot copy from in_memory to in_memory, or am I missing something? Would there be a way to achieve the same effect?

  • What do you mean by "fails"? Did you get an ERROR 000260 or something else?
    – PolyGeo
    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:18

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can. Use the Copy_Features GP tool for that.

pnt_fc = r"C:\Users\us\Documents\ArcGIS\Default.gdb\_PointDistanceFc"

mem1 = r"in_memory\bufferOne"
mem2 = r"in_memory\bufferTwo"

                      buffer_distance_or_field='10 Meters')



When you use the following approach:

mem1 = arcpy.Buffer_analysis(in_features=pnt_fc,
                      buffer_distance_or_field='10 Meters')

mem2 = arcpy.CopyFeatures_management(mem1,r"in_memory\bufferTwo")


You are getting mem1 and mem2 of type <class 'arcpy.arcobjects.arcobjects.Result'>, you should be aware of this if you are planning to interact with those objects.

  • It's Copy_management not CopyFeatures_management being used.
    – PolyGeo
    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:15
  • True, but the question was "My question is if it is possible to copy an in_memory feature to another in_memory feature." Aug 25, 2015 at 9:16
  • You're right - I was distracted by the title which did not fully summarize the content.
    – PolyGeo
    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:19
  • The reason I ended up working with Copy_management is because CopyFeatures_management always spits out an error message for me when trying to save into memory, so I assumed it cannot be used to save into memory. I will have to try your code snippet later, and I will let you know. Aug 25, 2015 at 13:19

It is not possible to save the output of the Copy tool to in_memory, whatever the input's workspace. It is explained in the last answer of the post you mentioned, I add here an updated reference.

FYI, there are some other tools that don't accept in_memory as output workspace, e.g. Project.

  • 2
    I agree - Copy_management can only be used between workspaces of the same type. Otherwise an ERROR 000260 will result.
    – PolyGeo
    Aug 25, 2015 at 9:16

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