I'm working on an integration project that is providing data from our billing system to ArcGIS. Field names can include spaces which are acceptable in SQL Server if enclosed in brackets e.g. [Street Name].

Our GIS administrator tells me that ArcGIS can't handle spaces in field names. I need to rename all fields to use an underscore or remove spaces. Is this correct? Are there any viable workarounds?

E.g. Create a view on each table and provide an alias.

Can ArcGIS use a query rather than attach to a table directly and substitute names on the fly?

E.g. "Select [Street name] as StreetName from Table1"

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    no ArcGIS doesn't like field names with spaces. I get around this by using views. It's painful – Midavalo Apr 27 '16 at 10:28
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    Best practice is to utilize SQL-standard naming practices, making your database portable to any SQL engine. – Vince Apr 27 '16 at 11:03
  • Update Thanks for your replies. I've opted to rename the fields and modify my export process. @Midavalo : If you post your answer as a question I'll mark it as – Sir Swears-a-lot Apr 29 '16 at 4:04
  • @Midavalo's view workaround is a good one, and would be necessary in situations where you don't have the "luxury" of renaming all of your tables – Stephen Lead Apr 29 '16 at 5:18

ArcGIS doesn't like fieldnames with spaces, or any other non-alphanumeric character for that matter (other than the underscore _)

The Esri FAQ What characters should not be used in ArcGIS for field names and table names? says

  • Eliminate any characters that are not alphanumeric character or an underscore.
  • Do not start field or table names with an underscore or a number.
  • It is necessary to edit the field names in delimited text files to remove unsupported characters before using them.

The third point could be taken to also mean any other external source such as tables from third-party systems like your billing system.

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