Based on my understanding of the ArcGIS path structure, a feature class inside a feature dataset inside a geodatabase can be accessed by the following:


Where Sandwich is the feature dataset and Cheese is the feature class.

In a python script, I want to construct this full path, so that I can check it using arcpy.Exists(x). I have the following variables (pseudocode):

WSpace = C:\Menu\Lunch.gdb\
FDSName = Sandwich
FCName = Cheese

Concatenating WSpace and FDSName gives the correct path to the feature dataset. What I need help with is tacking FCName onto the end. I would think the following code would work, but it renders a space instead of the backslash character:

fullPath = WSpace + FDSName + r"\" + FCName

Instead of r"\", I have also tried "\\", and "/", but they all render a space. This seems like a simple syntax problem.

  • 2
    I would strongly recommend reading the "String literals" section of the Python language reference topic on lexical analysis (how the Python interpreter parses Python source code).
    – blah238
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 3:34

2 Answers 2


Strings, even when marked as r"Raw strings", cannot end with a slash, it needs to be escaped. Should be:

fullPath = WSpace + FDSName + "\\" + FCName

Or better yet, use os.path.join:

fullPath = os.path.join(WSpace, FDSName, FCName)
  • I tried both "\\" and "//": neither worked for me. But I like os.path.join(), that looks promising.
    – L_Holcombe
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 3:36
  • os.path.join worked perfectly. Thank you for adding that tool to my toolbox.
    – L_Holcombe
    Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 0:47

I don't know why, but r"\" and r'\' both gave me error. Following one works for me:

workspacePath = r'C:\a.gdb'
datasetName = r'dataset'
featureClassName = r'ofc'
featureClassPath = workspacePath+"\\"+datasetName+"\\"+featureClassName
print featureClassPath

output: C:\a.gdb\dataset\ofc

  • 3
    As Jason mentioned, the reason neither r"\" or r'\' works is the single \ escapes the trailing quote, resulting in a syntax error: docs.python.org/2/reference/…
    – blah238
    Commented Feb 7, 2013 at 6:22

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