ArcGIS Desktop 10.6.1

I am trying to load long text (>255 characters) into my GIS data. The destination field (let's call it "Field Alpha") is a string field with a length of 2000 characters, in a feature class in an enterprise GDB.

My source data is from an Excel file. Let's call the source long text field "Field Bravo".

I intend to load the long text data by joining a table (Excel document or GDB table) to the feature class, and then using field calculator to populate Field Alpha from Field Bravo.

However, no matter how I go about it, when I get the data into ArcGIS it converts to BLOB. If I simply add the Excel doc to an MXD, Field Bravo shows up as BLOB. If I try to import the Excel document into a new geodatabase table (in a separate, file Geodatabase), it will import as BLOB, even if I stipulate in the import that the field is "Text" and designate a length longer than 255.

Is there any way to import text longer than 255 characters into ArcGIS 10.6.1?

  • 1
    Which enterprise database? Data types vary significantly for various database servers. Can you create a text field longer than 255 manually? If not then the database probably doesn't support memo type fields accessdatabasetutorial.com/…. If you can create, or have created, a long text field then try importing your Excel into Personal Geodatabase (create a new one) with Microsoft Access then join to that table.. the ArcGIS implementation of connecting to Excel can be a bit flaky. Commented May 29, 2019 at 5:54
  • 1
    Have you tried using a schema.ini file to explicitly enforce the correct data type for that column in the spreadsheet? See See Microsoft's documentation at: docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/odbc/microsoft/… and my answer at gis.stackexchange.com/questions/284813/… . Commented May 29, 2019 at 5:58
  • Hi, yes, just adding the spreadsheet to an MXD makes the data in Field Bravo show up as "BLOB" type. Changed the title per your suggestion. Thanks!
    – EAP
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 6:11

1 Answer 1


Answer/workaround: Don't use Excel. Use a CSV.

I did some playing around, and I found out that I can successfully import long text (>255 characters) into a string/long text field if I do the following:

  1. Save my Excel table as a comma-separated values file
  2. Create a new table in a file geodatabase with the CSV file as the source

ArcGIS will automatically set the field to "Text" data type with a length of 8000. For some reason, ArcGIS 10.6.1 cannot/will not do this if it is in Excel format. The long text will always be imported as BLOB. Go figure.

So use a CSV, and make sure you have your delimiters squared away. If you don't make sure you're delimiters are set correctly, you're gonna have a bad time.

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