Have an excel spreadsheet in CSV format with a field of APN numbers (8 digit US assessor parcel numbers)

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Need to query these in a large layer of parcel polygons using python script and the arcpy.Select_analysis function.

The problem may be the way I created the list object in python. When I print the list, commas are returned inside parenthesis' with the APN's .

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The error message is invalid expression, here is the script I have:

import arcpy
import sys
import os
from arcpy import env
env.workspace = "D:/Project"
env.overwriteOutput = True

APNlist = []
Plist = "D:/Project/Preserve_Parcels.csv" #change format??
cursor = arcpy.da.SearchCursor(Plist, ["APN8"])

for row in cursor:
    APNlist.append(row) #should I change how the list is appended?
print APNlist

infc = "D:/Project/Final.gdb/Parcels"
fieldname = "APN_8"
outfc = "D:/Project/Final.gdb/parcels_sel"
qry = """APN_8 IN {0}""".format(str(tuple(APNlist))) # Wrong syntax?

arcpy.Select_analysis (infc, outfc, qry)

I'm a python/arcpy beginner

  • See the update to my answer below, it should clear up some confusion as there will be a difference in how your query variable is structured based on if your APN_8 field in infc is a string or numeric field.
    – GeoSharp
    Nov 30, 2016 at 1:23
  • GeoSharp, thank you kindly for your help with this and thanks to all other editors. I have implemented your solution, my infc APN_8 is a string field. Just two issues for editing: APNlist object is spelled with a lowercase l, and I received a syntax error for sql_list = ["'" + str(x) "'" for x in APNList] until I added another + in front of the second single quote like so: sql_list = ["'" + str(x) + "'" for x in APNList] Then everything worked PERFECT. Thanks again so much, I'm now a big fan of gis stackexchange. Dec 2, 2016 at 22:24
  • Accepted, I tried upvoting but my rep is too low for public display Dec 2, 2016 at 23:00

1 Answer 1


When you append to your list with your cursor even though you are only searching one field you still need to index to the first field like this row[0]:

with arcpy.da.SearchCursor(Plist, ['APN8']) as cursor:
    for row in cursor:

This should fix the tuple issue you are having.

If APN_8 is a string field in infc you can create a correct SQL syntax list and query like this:

sql_list = ["'" + str(x) "'" for x in APNList]
sql_list = ','.join(sql_list)
qry = "APN_8 IN (%s)" % sql_list

If APN_8 is a numeric field in infc you can create a correct SQL syntax list and query like this:

qry = "APN_8 IN (%s)" % str(APNList)[1:-2]

By doing either of these, depending on whether APN_8 is a string or numeric field in infc, you will create a comma separated string surrounded by proper SQL syntax for a list ( ) which is what you need for the where clause in arcpy.Select_analysis, the new string representation of your list will look like this for the first syntax:


and this with the second syntax:

"(00391711, 11006553, 11007963, 22010643)"

The way you did it, directly supplying the string representation of the python to your query, will make your query contain brackets [ ] before and after your list object like this:

"[00391711, 11006553, 11007963, 22010643]"

The SQL parser that arcpy.Select_analysis uses does not know what to do with the [ ].

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