I am having a slight problem with using the Make Feature Layer tool in ModelBuilder.

Basically I have a file geodatabase of points. I am trying to make a model to pull out points according to a reference field value. I could just make the expression for the tool a variable but unfortunately the users who are going to use it are to dense to create a simple SQL statement.

I have created a model String variable (VRefNo) to take the reference number (Its alphanumeric hence the string. The column in the geodatabase is also a string) and tried to parse it in the usual way to the expression:

"RefNo" = '%VRefNo%' 

and all the other variables are hard coded. I have made the variable a model parameter and checked the add to display check box for the output and made sure nothing is intermediate (There is only one tool in the model and thats it).

The model runs ok with no errors but I am not getting an output.

Any Ideas?

I can get the select tool to work in ModelBuilder when run from the toolbox only when I make the output a model parametre. That's all nice but I only want to save the results temporarily to memory (in_memory) and would prefer the user not having the option to change this.

I would make a python script to do it but all the clients dont have python installed on their machines.

  • if they have ArcGIS installed, they should have Python installed. It's installed as part of the defualt configuration. Sep 14, 2012 at 17:21
  • Ensure that both the 'Model Parameter' AND 'Add to Display' options are set on the OUTPUT parameter. INPUT parameters only need the 'Model Parameter' option checked. Your expression strategy works perfectrly fine for me in 10.3 and 10.6. Nov 30, 2021 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


Use the "like" operator instead of "=". Your double wildcard should then work.

  • 1
    Its not a double wild card. As far as I am aware according to ESRI help you use double % to enclose a variable and as it is a string it has single quotes on either end. VRefNo is a model variable and parametre that the user enters when the model runs from a tool box that I am trying to use in the expression.
    – Chris C
    Sep 13, 2012 at 8:45

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