I have a dataset containing 171 shapefiles, their names as "shp0_0" to "shp0_171". I need to merge them into a single shapefile. When I use the merge tool and load all the .shp from the folder, it gives me random order, they are not listed by the filename order.

I need the output attribute table's FIDs to correspond with the input shapefiles: shp1 to be in the 1st row and have FID 0, shp2 to be in the 2nd row and have FID 1 and so on.

Is there a way to list all shapefiles to be merged numerically sorted by filename?

I work in arcmap 10.3 (using arcpy).

  • 1
    What GIS software are you using?
    – PolyGeo
    Nov 28, 2017 at 13:53
  • 4
    It's not a great idea to use the FID for this purpose as you don't generally have any control over them. A better solution would be to add and populate a new field called filenum or rownum to each of the 171 shapefiles, then merge.
    – Alexander
    Nov 28, 2017 at 14:03
  • I just wanted to emphasize @Alexander 's comment (more than I did by upvoting it): you should absolutely NOT USE FIDs as an ID field. Those numbers can and do change when a shapefile is edited. You should add a dedicated field for ID values. That would also make this question unnecessary.
    – Dan C
    Nov 28, 2017 at 18:36
  • Yes, in the end I had to resort to Alexander's suggestion because I needed to do few more tasks with the shapefiles. Thank you.
    – M. Tomas
    Nov 28, 2017 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


This will list the shapefiles, sort by number and merge. I dont know if it will give you the results you want though, you will have to try:

import arcpy

shapefile_folder = r'C:\folder' #Change to your folder containing the shapefiles
arcpy.env.workspace = shapefile_folder
shapelist = sorted(arcpy.ListFeatureClasses(), key = lambda x: int(x.split('.')[0][5:]))

arcpy.Merge_management(inputs=shapelist, output='Shapefiles_merge.shp')

The code can be executed in the Python window.

  • I tried to run the script and it failed saying: Runtime error Traceback (most recent call last): File "<string>", line 5, in <module> File "<string>", line 5, in <lambda> ValueError: invalid literal for int() with base 10: '0_1' The real filenames of the shapefiles are from "GPL0.shp" to "GPL0_170.shp"
    – M. Tomas
    Nov 28, 2017 at 14:25
  • Rename GPL0 to GPL0_0 and try again, i have changed the code
    – BERA
    Nov 28, 2017 at 14:27
  • This time it worked perfectly. Thank you very much. I'd like to learn from this, what does this line do? shapelist = sorted(arcpy.ListFeatureClasses(), key = lambda x: int(x.split('.')[0][5:])) Especially after key =
    – M. Tomas
    Nov 28, 2017 at 14:33
  • Nice! The sorting of the shapefile list is done using a lambda function. See for example stackoverflow.com/questions/8966538/…
    – BERA
    Nov 28, 2017 at 14:49
  • Without it it would sort the shapefiles alphabetical and not by the numbers
    – BERA
    Nov 28, 2017 at 14:56

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