I am trying to create an ArcPy script to clip multiple shapefiles (2,000) to the census tracts in LA County. I have successfully run the code on a single shapefile and am trying to convert the code into a form that will loop through all of the shapefiles saved in a folder.

The code should be able to pull in all the different shapefiles and export them as separate Excel files. I do not want to combine all of my shapefiles into a single shapefile for analysis purposes later one. When I run the script below, I only get one Excel output and I should be getting one per shapefile processed.

#import system modules
import arcpy
import os, re
import csv
import numpy

#Set environment workspace, enable file overwrite
from arcpy import env
env.workspace = r"C:\Users\madis\Desktop\Python_Test"
env.overwriteOutput = True
print "Output environment is set to Python_Test"

#Create a file geodatabase to store data
out_folder_path = r"C:\Users\madis\Desktop\Python_Test"
out_name = "Python_Test.gdb"
arcpy.CreateFileGDB_management(out_folder_path, out_name)
print "Geodatabase created."

#Clean up Census layer
print "Census tract layer created."

#Start for loop here
#Load shapefiles
file_list = [x for x in os.listdir(r"C:\Users\madis\Desktop\Python_Test") if 
    for file1 in file_list:
    tract_num = file1[:-4] #re.search("Tract(\d+)", file1).group(1)
    print("Processing file: %s" %tract_num)

    #Set the clip function variables
    in_features = "CENSUS_TRACTS_2010.shp"
    clip_features = "234502_de388cd-isochrone.shp"
    out_feature_class = r"C:\Users\madis\Desktop\Python_Test\Output"
    xy_tolerance = ""

    #Execute clip
    newInput = arcpy.Clip_analysis(in_features, clip_features, 
    out_feature_class, xy_tolerance)

    # Calculate the clipped areas for tracts in isochrone
    areaRatioFieldName = 'SQFT_CLIP'
    areaRatioFieldType = 'DOUBLE'
    arcpy.AddField_management(newInput, areaRatioFieldName, 
    print "Area ratio field added"

    #Export results to .xls
    arcpy.CalculateField_management(newInput, "SQFT_CLIP", 
    '!shape.area@squarefeet!', "PYTHON_9.3")
    print "Clipped tract areas calculated"

    in_table = r"C:\Users\madis\Desktop\Python_Test\Output.shp"
    out_table = "Test1.xls"
    arcpy.TableToExcel_conversion(in_table, out_table)
    print "Export to Excel is complete"
  • 1
    You should have a question in the body of the text
    – nmtoken
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 18:42
  • 1
    I am new to python...that's the fine print.. now my comment: I am thinking each new excel file should have a unique name - how does your script account for that? I could be missing it, but it seems created files are overwritten by subsequent ones till the last one.
    – ZrSiO4
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


It seems that your output is overwritten because the output file name is the same for each iteration ("Test1.xls")

  • And a potential solution would be to concatenate tract_num to "Test1.xls" like so tract_num + "Test1.xls"
    – ZrSiO4
    Commented Apr 17, 2018 at 19:03

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