I am using ArcMap 10.5, but help pages I am referring are the same as in 10.7.

I am trying to make a GP tool within Python toolbox with kind of selection input: user selects features in ArcMap interactively.

I was reading Using the interactive feature and record input controls and found that it's possible for GP tool to have such kind of parameter. Quote: "The interactive feature input control gives you two methods for inputting features to a tool—either by clicking on a map display or by providing an existing dataset."

OK, so I checked what parameter types I can create here: Defining parameter data types in a Python toolbox and it seems that Feature Set (GPFeatureRecordSetLayer) is what I am looking for as description says: "Interactive features that draw the features when the tool is run.".

Here is my magic tool, but I do not see any way to "enter features interactively":

class AttachTool(object):
    def __init__(self):
        """Define the tool (tool name is the name of the class)."""
        self.label = "Add attachments"
        self.description = "Adds the same file as attachment to multiple selected features"
        self.canRunInBackground = False

    def isLicensed(self):
        """Set whether tool is licensed to execute."""
        return True

    def getParameterInfo(self):
        """Define parameter definitions"""

        paramInputFeatures = arcpy.Parameter(
            displayName="Input Features",
            datatype="GPFeatureRecordSetLayer", # Interactive features that draw the features when the tool is run
            multiValue = True)

        paramInputFile = arcpy.Parameter(
            displayName="File to attach",

        return [paramInputFeatures, paramInputFile]

    def updateParameters(self, parameters):
        """Modify the values and properties of parameters before internal
        validation is performed.  This method is called whenever a parameter
        has been changed."""

    def updateMessages(self, parameters):
        """Modify the messages created by internal validation for each tool
        parameter.  This method is called after internal validation."""

    def execute(self, parameters, messages):
        """The source code of the tool."""
        arcpy.AddMessage('Just pretending to do something...')

Input field looks like this and I don't see how I should select features... enter image description here

PS. Copy on GeoNet: https://community.esri.com/thread/243774-arcpyparameter-how-to-create-the-interactive-feature-input-control

1 Answer 1


The ArcGIS Pro topic for Python toolbox parameters looks to have a bit more information. Find the section: About Feature and Record Sets The information you need is:

The symbology and schema (attributes and geometry type) can be set for the Feature Set and Record Set control by setting the parameter's value property to a feature class, table, or layer file (.lyrx).

By providing the parameter value to an item with both schema and symbology (ie. a LYR file in ArcMap), the tool will open allowing you to draw the particular features. eg.

param0.value = os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__),'Fire_Station.lyrx')
  • Yes, there is more info here. It seems that I misunderstand what "interactive input" means. It is not the selection of existing features, but features that user adds (I suppose) in edit session?.. Nov 15, 2019 at 13:47
  • 1
    You can use interactively drawn features to perform a selection. The interactive draw of a polygon can be passed to Select by Location to do this.
    – KHibma
    Nov 15, 2019 at 14:48

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