I tried to use SearchCursor(points, fields=fieldname) but I get this error:

TypeError: SearchCursor() got an unexpected keyword argument 'fields'

I'm not sure why this doesn't work.

    # Local variables:
    points =  arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management("C:\\alltogether.shp")
    homebase_shp =  arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management("C:\\homebase.shp")

    fieldname = "Device"
    Device = arcpy.AddFieldDelimiters(points, fieldname)
    delimitedfield = arcpy.AddFieldDelimiters(points, fieldname)
    devices = set([row.getValue(fieldname) for row in arcpy.SearchCursor(points)])

    for i in devices:
            attr_sel = arcpy.SelectLayerByAttribute_management(points,"NEW_SELECTION", delimitedfield + " = " + str(i))
            totalpts = arcpy.GetCount_management(attr_sel)

            # Process: Select Layer By Location
            inside_sel = arcpy.SelectLayerByLocation_management(attr_sel, "WITHIN", homebase_shp, "", "SUBSET_SELECTION")
            insidepts = arcpy.GetCount_management(inside_sel)

            print "device %d has %d total points and %d inside the base" % (int(i),int(totalpts[0]),int(insidepts[0]))

a comment I saw earlier suggested doing it with fields=

Since you are only interested in one field, for better performance I would specify the >optional fields argument, e.g. myList = set([row.getValue(fldName) for row in >arcpy.SearchCursor(fcName, fields=fldName)]) – blah238 Jan 29 '12 at 1:03

Select distinct values from a single column of an attribute table (or layer)

  • What version of arcgis are you working with? The API may have changed. Jan 31, 2013 at 21:32
  • version 10.0. I assume thats what comment i pasted was using too since its arcpy.SearchCursor instead of arcpy.da.Searchcursor
    – EmdyP
    Jan 31, 2013 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


It looks like arcpy wants your arguments by position, not keyword. Therefore you would want to use something like:

SearchCursor(points, "","","fieldname")

If fieldname is a variable pointing to a string, omit the quotes. For multiple fields use:

SearchCursor(points, "","","Field1; Field2; Field3")



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