I need to store into a dictionary data from a shapefile that contains in several fields unrecognizable characters by ASCII, like in this one: "Städtebaulicher Entwicklungsbereich: Sanierungsgebiete SG 1 u. SG 2, Mkt. Floß". In the end, I have to create a report in Excel with all these attributes.

I get the data ( stringVal ) by using SearchCursor. This is a simplified code of how I store the data in the dictionary:

for row in cursor:            
        if stringVal not in d:

So my dictionary should look like this:

d={"Städtebaulicher Entwicklungsbereich: Sanierungsgebiete SG 1 u. SG 2, Mkt. Floß":1,"Städtebaulicher Entwicklungsbereich: Sanierunggebiet Südstadt, St. Grafenwöhr":4}

At this moment, it looks like this, when printing it:

d={u'Bayerisches Staatsministerium der Finanzen, f\xfcr Landesentwicklung und Heimat': 11}

I know it has to do with unicodes and UTF-8, but from what I read on the internet, I still couldn't solve it.

  • What is your code snippet to "get the data by using SearchCursor"?
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 17, 2017 at 19:58
  • I updated now the original post.
    – panda
    Nov 17, 2017 at 20:27
  • I think the problem is not about unicode. The print shows another text that is different from your text.I think the searchcursor reads another record or maybe another field.
    – BBG_GIS
    Nov 19, 2017 at 22:23
  • The SearchCursor reads the proper value from the proper field.
    – panda
    Nov 19, 2017 at 22:47

2 Answers 2


I found the solution for my problem.

In the first line of the script I kept using this:

# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

while the correct form is:

# -*- coding: UTF-8 -*-

In the dictionary, the names still look weird but this doesn't matter, because now the script is able to read the data from the dictionary properly.

  • That's Great.your code works without it. Just handle unicodes in the code.It can be a challenge for you to learn using unicodes in python if you'll use unicode often
    – BBG_GIS
    Nov 19, 2017 at 23:00

I suppose your full code is like the below code.I don't know where you are using "i" in row[i]. But i set it to 0. It's mean i use "Category" field.

Note: when you want to print a dictionary with unicode strings, use rep and decode.The result of your print shows another words that is not about unicode

import arcpy
arcpy.env.workspace = r"..\folder"
for row in cursor:
        if stringVal not in d:

print repr(d).decode("unicode-escape")

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