I am trying to delete a table field: From ArcMap table view, I right click on the field heading and select Delete field. Unfortunately, I obtain the following message:

Failed to delete the selected fields.
General function failure [TABLE_NAME]

and the field remains.

How should I proceed to delete this field?

  • 2
    You don't say what the table is or how it was generated or its source format? Is it part of a geometric network for example? You would not be able to alter the schema of such datasets depending upon the license level you have. Is it an event layer built from a csv or excel file, if so these are read only. You need to provide more information.
    – Hornbydd
    Commented Jul 10, 2013 at 9:21

3 Answers 3


Try the delete field tool and make sure that table is not in use elsewhere.

For example, if the table is in use by an ArcGIS for Server service, stopping the service, it may became possible to delete the field.


I had a similar problem deleting a field in a geodatabase featuredataset featureclass. I could not delete the field inside the attribute table and delete field returned the same general function failure error. Making a copy of the problem feature class, rename the original, rename the copy to be the same as the original allowed me to delete the field and maintain any MXD connections to those data.

Update-the problem is back again-the solution presented above was only a temporary fix.


The shapefile and dbase file have read-only permissions. Attribute indexes cannot be created for shapefiles or dBASE files that are read only. Solution or Workaround

If the data is local, change the permissions for the shapefile or dbase file.

A. Start Windows Explorer.
B. Navigate to the your file (Shapefile,GDB or MDB) 
C. Select the files associated with the shapefile (SHP, DBF, SHX, PRJ, SBN, SBX).
D. Right-click and select Properties.
E. Uncheck the Read-Only option.
F. Click Apply and OK.
  • Are you suggesting that this possibly related problem is pointing at the same underlying issue as in the question, then please edit your answer to make that clearer. Otherwise people may mistake this for trying to ask (and self-answer) a different question in the area reserved for direct answers to the original question.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 10:41

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