entering >255 characters in a field

04-08-2014 05:47 PM
New Contributor
I have set up a feature class in ArcGIS 10.2 and I have data in Excel 2007 to upload into the feature class.
It seems to work fine except for one feature.  The Excel file has a Comments column that has up to 900 characters in it.  this is important information that I need to keep in the feature.  everything loads except the Comments column.  It is characterized as a BLOB and is not imported.   As I understand it each file in a file database should be able to handle that many characters.  How do I get that information into my feature class?

I have tried a csv file, a dbf file (used Excel 2003), importing to ArcMap first then to a feature class (lose about 3 columns of data), an Access file (was blocked by another OLE problem that I already posted).  Was looking for a way to parse into 4 smaller columns but couldn't figure out how to merge them when in the feature class. 

Appreciate any help.
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3 Replies
Esri Esteemed Contributor
Which of the dozen or so formats that could be used for a feature class
are you using?

If it's shapefile, you can stop trying, because the version of dBase used
in shapefiles is limited to 254 characters.

- V
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MVP Regular Contributor
If you're working with a file geodatabase, the text field width can be up to a length of 2,147,483,647 characters.  See this article for details.  How are you importing your data?  It might make sense to create an empty feature class or table with the field names, types, and lengths that you need first and then bring in the records from Excel afterwards via OLE DB.  When setting up your fields, specify the length you need (e.g., 900) for your COMMENTS text field.  If you modify the format of your source data to something else like CSV or DBF like you mentioned, you could load the records using Simple Data Loader by right clicking the empty feature class or table and picking the Load Data option.  Another possibility is the Excel to Table Conversion tool but that only gets you a table, not a feature class.  You could then convert that table to an event layer in ArcMap.  It's worth mentioning the Make XY Event Layer tool in case it allows for the number of COMMENT characters you need.  The event layer can then be exported to a feature class.
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New Contributor
Thank you for your comments but I have been all those routes and read all the pages that you suggested.  When I tried to load into a new feature class (empty fields) with the Comments field set to 1000, in the process of loading, the Comments field is converted to a BLOB and of course nothing shows up. In this case I was loading from an .xlsx file. Everything else works except for this one field.  This then led me to try all the other options, cvs, dbf, etc.

One old forum said to load from Access which is why I tried that route but that has a bug I have described in another blog so I can't see whether that works or not.

I have run out of ideas. One idea was to make 3-4 comments fields and merge after entry into feature class but I don't think I can do that. At least I can't find it anywhere.
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