I'm developing an interface with arcgis and python.

When I have only python, I can make my script interactive using:

S = float(raw_input( 'Please enter the value: '))

I can open and run my script at the python window of the ArcGIS, and the script run, but when I try become this interactive, asking the value, ArcGIS gives me an error:

Runtime error 
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<string>", line 769, in <module>
EOFError: EOF when reading a line

2 Answers 2


Python window is not an equivalent of the Python shell; hence, you won't be able to use the raw_input there. To implement the interactivity with the user, you may choose any of these alternatives:

  • build custom script tools with input parameters (via arcpy.GetParameterAsText());
  • build Python add-ins (which have text boxes to fill in);
  • use 3rd party Python GUI toolkits such as Tkinter, wxPython, and PyQt.
  • 2
    Probably worth noting that some Python GUI toolkits (tkinter) don't play nicely with ArcGIS. There are ways of using those, but I've personally had mixed results and sometimes end up completely crashing ArcGIS. Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 16:29
  • I saw what you answer but I still not understand.. In your 2nd reference, I saw this code: import arcpy # Get the spatial reference from the tool dialog. spatial_ref = arcpy.GetParameter(0) # Display the Spatial Reference properties arcpy.AddMessage("Name is: {0}".format(spatial_ref.name)) arcpy.AddMessage("Type is: {0}".format(spatial_ref.type)) arcpy.AddMessage("Factory code is: {0}".format(spatial_ref.factoryCode)) So in python window of arcgis it will never be interactive?
    – S.Rai
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 16:32
  • 1
    I suggest that you review a Help section on creating script tools, this will give you an idea what kind of interactivity is available. resources.arcgis.com/en/help/main/10.2/index.html#/… Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 16:55
  • 1
    @EvilGenius, I agree. I've had quite a success with PyQt and ArcGIS Pro Python 3.4 though. Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 6:15
  • @Alex, can you tell what you mean by build Python add-ins (which have text boxes to fill in);
    – AMurray
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 17:09

I have a workaround I've been using in production for 2 years. Not pretty, but works reliably. In your py script you call a batch file which gets a string of user input and writes it to a temp text file. Then python reads that file.

The batch file (getInput.bat):

@ echo off

REM  Takes a single line of user input and writes it to an ascii file.  More details below.
REM    (See also getChoice.bat which takes a single keystroke and doesn't require "ENTER, control-Z and ENTER"

echo ==== GETINPUT.BAT =============================================
echo   USER INPUT: respond with a line of text.
echo     If you make a mistake, simply retype it -- this tool
echo     saves just one line: the last _non-blank_ line entered.
echo   To finish, press  ENTER,  control-Z  and ENTER
echo *** %1

REM A blank input (eg: ^Z ENTER) leaves the output file unchanged, so  
REM    need to set a default string 

REM Closing the DOS window without input also leaves the output file unchanged, so need also
REM    to overwrite the old file -- otherwise previous input is used.  Note that the python 
REM    code below explicitly checks for "NULL" 
echo NULL > B:\users\%username%\userinput.txt 

REM Get userinput and send it to an environment variable.
FOR /F "tokens=*" %%A IN ('TYPE CON') DO SET USERINPUT=%%A

REM  Send the value of the environment variable to a file, for python to read.
echo %USERINPUT% > B:\users\%username%\userinput.txt 

The python code:

import getpass
import subprocess
username = getpass.getuser()
userInputFile = "B:/users/" + username + "/userinput.txt"
msgarg = "Type row and column of the Cell.  Numbers only, separated by a space."
# (use doublequotes so CMD sees it as one argument)

# run the batch file -- which prompts for input and writes it to a temp file

# read the user's input from that file
with open(userInputFile) as inputFile:
    for line in inputFile:
        if line:
            userInput = line.rstrip()
            break   # stop at the first line read 
if line == "NULL":   
   # do something to respond to NULL input, e.g. ...
   print = "Aborting process based on user input (" + userInput + ")"
  • I just changed this line: subprocess.call([r"F:\Otimizacao\correto\ficheiro.gms",msgarg]) but arcgis gives me error in this line: Runtime error Traceback (most recent call last): File "<string>", line 10, in <module> File "C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.2\Lib\subprocess.py", line 493, in call return Popen(*popenargs, **kwargs).wait() File "C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.2\Lib\subprocess.py", line 679, in init errread, errwrite) File "C:\Python27\ArcGIS10.2\Lib\subprocess.py", line 896, in _execute_child startupinfo) WindowsError: [Error 193] %1 is not a valid Win32 application Do you understand why? @AMurray
    – S.Rai
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 11:07
  • What kind of file is ficheiro.gms ? It is supposed to be getInput.bat which is a file containing the first block of code above.
    – AMurray
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 2:34

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