I wish to use "split by attribute" tool in ArcGIS ModelBuilder to split a shapefile (points with metadata) into different groups based on a parameter. The tool works and creates for example 4 .dpf files in the given folder but it does not seem to want to add these new files (tables) into ArcGIS automatically even though I specify "add to display", but more importantly the output of the tool in ModelBuilder seems to be a dead-end that I cannot run any analysis on. This is a bottleneck in my model as I want my model to carry on working on these data sets.

How can I do that?

  • Are you sure they aren't being added to the TOC (table of contents) under the "List by Source" tab? The TOC is usually on "List by Drawing order" by default and thus will not show any tables since they aren't drawn. Dec 12, 2018 at 16:23
  • I dont think so, I am currently working in "list by source" in "table of contents" where I can see other tables but not these ones. Also It does not seem to be able to be plotted on the map using "make XY event layer" from the output of "split by attributes"
    – MSS
    Dec 12, 2018 at 16:37
  • Have you seen this. Dec 12, 2018 at 16:43
  • So it seems the output of "split by attribute" is just an location rather than the data it generated. is there a way of getting model builder to automatically add these back into the model?
    – MSS
    Dec 12, 2018 at 16:54
  • Most likely using iterator tools or something but its hard to say without a look at the model. Dec 12, 2018 at 16:59

2 Answers 2


I have fallen foul to this particular tool and unsurprisingly its all about actually bothering to read the help file. A lesson I had to learn and now pass on to you...

So go to the Help file for the split by attributes tool and specifically look at the syntax section.

What is the output? It is a layer - no, is it all the layers created by the split - no, is it a Workspace - Yes!

It makes no sense to add a workspace to the map, you add datasets. There in lies your problem the output of this tool is not something that can be added to a map.

  • Ah really? So is there no way around it then?
    – MSS
    Dec 12, 2018 at 16:55
  • 1
    You could create a sub-model with an iterator that processes them, the output of the split by attribute tool could act as a precondition to the sub-model.
    – Hornbydd
    Dec 12, 2018 at 16:58
  • Or you could iterate over the grouping field then copy features, this approach would then spit out a FeatureClass for each grouping value and can feed into any downstream processing. Personally I find the split by attribute tool a sort of end of the processing line type tool rather than something that happens within a workflow.
    – Hornbydd
    Dec 12, 2018 at 17:04
  • Could you elaborate?
    – MSS
    Dec 12, 2018 at 17:14
  • Can anyone help me here, I did try various iterators but didn't manage to accomplish this.
    – MSS
    Dec 19, 2018 at 5:34

You want the model-builder only tool called 'add to Display'


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