I have 50 near tables that I want to append, so I can export them at once.
However, when I use the append tool an error comes up saying that the near tables are 'read only'. Is there anyway to make this append possible?
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If you have the Target Dataset added in the project, it may cause to be read-only or if you have Target Dataset among the Input Datasets.
Open a new (empty) project (or even restart ArcMap), and make sure the Target Dataset is not among Input Datasets and run the tool.
Another posibility is that you are experiencing the issue discussed here.