This is not a copy of previous questions like Selecting certain fields from feature class to create new feature class in ArcPy? but builds on them.

I have two approaches and two different issues.

Project: Take numerous feature classes in several SDE's and create a shapefile of each FC but only containing a selection of fields.

Method 1:

I copied the entire Feature Class to a new GDB, made a feature layer from that feature class and iterate through the layer to create a list of "delete fields" by excluding all of the already established "keep fields." I then create a new shapefile from the feature layer that deletes all fields I don't want. This works fine except when subtypes are discovered.

I wrote the following to handle subtypes:

subtypes = arcpy.da.ListSubtypes(tempLayer)
sKeys = subtypes.keys()
for keys in sKeys:
    if keys != 0:
        print("Subtype found at code {}.".format(keys))

However, I still get errors saying fields cannot be deleted due to subtypes. When I look into/print the subtypes found in arcpy.da.ListSubtypes(tempLayer) ...no subtypes are found. So, with Method 1: What am I missing in identifying and deleting subtypes?

  • Please ask only one question per Question. Shapefiles cannot preserve datetime values (dBase only supports YYYYMMDD), so this would be a lossy conversion. Working with 10.2, which was been retired since July, and used an older/buggy Python, isn't going to make it easier to get assistance.
    – Vince
    Mar 2, 2020 at 16:29
  • If only it was easy to use a newer version. The existing geometric network used doesn't support 10.3 and makes navigating between all the different servers a pain unless 10.2 is used until everything gets properly updated to Pro or 10.6.1 Mar 2, 2020 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


Instead of copying and deleting, I like to create a feature layer and hide fields, then export. I've created a function for this task. Subtypes don't affect this method.

def CreateFieldInfoLayer (fc, lyrName, tempName, flds):
    fc = input feature class
    lyrName = name of output layer
    tempName = name of temporary layer. It will be created and deleted
    flds = keep fields
    #get field info
    tempName = arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management (fc, tempName) [0]
    fldInfo = arcpy.Describe (tempName).fieldInfo
    #set fields not in input list to hidden
    for i in range (fldInfo.count):
            fldName = fldInfo.getFieldName (i)
            if not fldName in flds:
                    fldInfo.setVisible (i, "HIDDEN")
    #create new layer with field info applied
    lyrName = arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management (tempName, lyrName, field_info = fldInfo) [0]
    #delete initial layer
    arcpy.Delete_management (tempName)
    return lyrName

#input table
inFc = r"C:\Some\Featureclass"
#keep fields
keepFields = ["field1", "field2"]
#create layer with limited fields
lyr = CreateFieldInfoLayer (inFc, "layer", "templayer", keepFields)

#copy features
arcpy.CopyFeatures_management (lyr, r"C:\Some\Featureclass_output")

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