I've many (hundreds) shape (3D points and 3D polygons) that have the same name, saved in different folders; and I've tried to merge them using batch with Merge tool in ArcGIS... but inexplicably ArcGis say that cannot process file with the same name! I'Now it's clear that I've too many files to rename them.

I've then used QGis and the process works, but lose the elevation information (Z) that I need.

I've seen other analogue questions but nothing directly usable. Some suggestions for a simply solution?

  • Have you got access to FME? It can do point cloud combining and a lot of other handy GIS-related stuff. Not too complicated either.
    – Martin
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 15:00
  • No access to FME...
    – toWGS84
    Commented Feb 12, 2014 at 15:25
  • Are you willing to use Python?
    – Aaron
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 17:40
  • Append don't work. Aboute Python I'haven't a good kknowledge but I could try.
    – toWGS84
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 10:07

4 Answers 4


You can prefix all shapefiles with the folder that they are found within. A simple model as shown below can achieve this.

The model to change shapefile names

So your initial folder file structure may be this:

Sample tree strucure

After running this model all shapefile will be prefixed with the folder they they are found within (e.g. T2_myData.shp). Your data then has unique names so they will be valid input for your tool.


I want to thank everybody for the answers. At the end I've resolved using a simply process:

  1. loaded all the same type of shapefile (eg: streets) in a geodatabase, selecting them with the OS function, searching for name.shp. During loading Arcgis auto-rename all the file with sequential name (eg: streets_04)
  2. applied the merge tool
  3. repeated process for the other types of shape (elevation, buildings, etc.).

I would...
1. Search the topmost folder for *.shp.
2. Drag and drop those shp files "only". (as your search may turn up the *.shp.xml files also).
3. use the ETTools GeoWizards merge layers. (which is one of the free functions).


Just to be clear; You cannot merge point shapefiles with polygons shapefiles. Only the same geometry type can be merged. I am sssuming that by merging, do you mean merging combining all the shapefiles into 1 shapefile not multiple features into a single multi-geometry feature.

You can create a new shapefile and load "Load Data..." all the shapefiles into it in ArcCatalog


Add all the point shapefiles to map

Create a new destination point shapefile

Start Editing

Select all features in map


Paste all into destination

Select all features in destination shape

Save edits

NOTE: I sometimes order data ships in a similar folder hiararchy and it is a cumbersome manual process to add them into the "Load Features" dialog box one by one or even to add then to the map. I creates a simple ArcCatalog Add-In that seeeks all the folders with a given folder finds all shapefiles and copies them to a single location. Unfortunately I my shapefiles all have different names and it skips duplicate names so It would have to be tweked for your purposes. If you know how to write VB .NET code, I can share it.

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