I have hundreds of shapefiles that are stored in separate folders, which are nested within several other folders. Among the shapefiles I only need the ones that are named 'POINT*.shp'

How do I get these specific shapefiles so I can then add fields, calculate fields, etc.?

If there is a better option than os.walk, please tell. I'm only beginning to learn python, so this is very new to me.

  • What version of ArcMap/Python do you have access to?
    – Barbarossa
    Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 18:04
  • I'm using ArcMap 10.1 and Python 2.7
    – S.S.
    Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 22:27

2 Answers 2


Use os.walk and then loop through the files appending to a list, where the filename starts with 'point' and ends with '.shp'.

import os
path = "D:/Files/GIS/Datafiles/"
shp_list = []
for dirpath, dirnames, files in os.walk(path):
    for f in files:
        if f.lower().endswith(".shp") and f.lower().startswith("point"):
            print f
            fullpath = os.path.join(dirpath, f)
  • Maybe less identation at "print" and below? Otherwise, very good. A regex doesn't help in this particular case but might in others.
    – sgillies
    Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 20:19
  • Thanks for your help Kevin. The only issue is that the shapefiles don't necessarily being with "point" -- sometimes it is in the middle of the name, and sometimes at the end. Is there a function that would say something like 'contains("point")'?
    – S.S.
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 22:56
  • @sgillies: thanks. I edited out the extra indentation.
    – KiloGeo
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 14:15
  • @S.S.: yes, just use if f.lower().find("point") <> -1
    – KiloGeo
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 14:17

There is a similar question here, but this is only helpful if you have access to ArcMap 10.1 SP1. If so you could use the da.walk to look for shapefiles. If you want any feature class with POINT in the name, you could do the following:

import arcpy, os, fnmatch
# Set the workspace with user input
arcpy.env.workspace = "Your directory here"
inWorkspace = arcpy.env.workspace
pointList = []
for dirpath, dirnames, filenames in arcpy.da.Walk(inWorkspace, followlinks=True, datatype="FeatureClass"):
    for filename in filenames:
        # Add any field with "POINT" in the filename when creating list
        if fnmatch.fnmatch(filename, "*POINT*"):
            pointList.append(os.path.join(dirpath, filename))

This creates a list (pointList) of complete paths to shapefiles with "POINT" in the name within your specified directory. Alternatively you could include type="Point" in the arcpy.da.Walk() to search for only POINT feature classes.

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