Is there a way to change Table to Table import parameters in ArcCatalog to either import text longer then 255 characters or truncate the input text to 255 characters?

I have 350 tables in a CSV format and I am using import Table (multiple) function in ArcCatalog. Majority of the table import fine but some fail because the source field text is longer then 255 characters. Instead of making the text field longer automatically ArcCatalog importer fails with the following error (identical in all cases):

Failed to convert C:\Users\Jakub Sisak\Desktop\LIDS_Jan2013\Processed_TBL\arasurpt_ara_survey_point.csv. ERROR 001156: Failed on input 
OID -1, could not write value 'Area upstream of culvert appears to have been ponded recently, possibly due to culvert blockage/beaver 
activity. Sampling started upstream of ponded area. Only fish sampling was done. Station UTM is downstream end. Pond at upstream is 
man-made dam of earth and debris and is in poor repair.' to output field COMMENTS
Failed to execute (CopyRows).

Is there a way to change the "importer" paramaters to either truncate the string (accaptable) or increase the length of the text field (ideal)

I am using File Geodatabase, ArcGIS Standard (ArcEditor). There is no memo field option in FGDB but text field (default length 255 characters) can be more then 255.

  • 2
    How did you create the target table? If you want it to support more than 255 characters, it would be better to define it that way than expect the load tool to modify the table in the middle of an insert.
    – Vince
    Oct 8, 2013 at 18:59
  • @Vince - the target table is created automatically when using Table to Table (multiple). I am not expecting load to modify table in the middle of an insert, rather I would like it to determine the length of that particular field dynamically, prior to import. It does a better job when importing from say an xslx where it sets the same field to to blob. At least it doesn't fail but I need to import from CSV. Oct 8, 2013 at 23:07

1 Answer 1


I've used csvstat --len, of the Python module csvkit, to determine the max length of each csv column. You can then modify the field lengths accordingly when building the FieldMap for Table_to_Table conversion.

  • Thanks @klewis. I was hoping for an out-of-the-box solution but doing this programatically would be fine. I don't do python (ArcObject only) so I would appreciate if you could please elaborate / provide a simple code example? Oct 8, 2013 at 23:15
  • If you prefer C# coding, can't you use ado.net to query the csv with something like select max(length("field1")) from table to get the maximum length of each csv field? If the max length is > 255 then edit the field properties of table_to_table.
    – klewis
    Oct 9, 2013 at 15:10

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