Can I create a field calc expression in ArcGIS 10.3 to print a selection between special characters?

I would like to extract a selection of string from field [FolderPath] to a new field [Name]. The string is between a hyphen and a forward slash.

What I have in field [FolderPath] example string: 264K - Name of Place/FeatureType

What I want in field [Name] target string: Name of Place


Solution with re module

You can use the built-in re module in Python for that.

import re
sr = re.split(' - |/',s)[1]

Field calculator view (where FeatureStr is the source field with 264K - Name of Place/FeatureType and Split is the output field with : Name of Place.

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Pre-Logic Script Code:

def splitText(field):
  import re
  return re.split(' - |/', field)[1]

Field to be equal to:


Alternative solution with no re module:

!FeatureStr!.split(' - ')[1].split('/')[0]
| improve this answer | |
  • Glad it works for you. Regex is a powerful tool which can be helpful in many cases when you need to split various strings. It might be a bit hard to master it, so when need just a quick fix - you can use the str.split() method multiple times iterating results - !FeatureStr!.split(' - ')[1].split('/')[0] would also work. And you wouldn't need a definition block. I've updated my answer. – Alex Tereshenkov Nov 11 '15 at 16:48
  • Is importing inside the function necessary, or can you put it outside? – jpmc26 Nov 12 '15 at 1:24

You can go to 'field calculator > String functions'. Select the Left() function. Inside bracket of left:

Left(Column_name, No. of characters to extract)

Hit Apply.

| improve this answer | |

I had a similar need to extract a variable length string from within a longer string, but where the left and right lengths of characters to be removed from the source string were fixed (but not necessarily the same).

I used this expression in the field calculator for the new string:

Left(RIGHT([field],Len([field] )-N1),Len(RIGHT([field],Len([field] )-N1))-N2)


  • [field] = source string
  • N1 = number of characters to remove from the left of the string
  • N2 = number of characters to remove from the right of the string
| improve this answer | |

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