How to prevent from truncating field name -exporting feature class to shp

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04-15-2015 07:10 AM
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Occasional Contributor

Sometimes, when you export feature class to a shp file, some of the field names are being truncated. How can I keep full field names after exporting the data in shp file?

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MVP Honored Contributor

Shapefiles field names have a maximum character length of 10 characters.  This is a requirement of the format and cannot be overridden.  Therefore there is no way to convert a field with a name longer than 10 characters into a shapefile without changing the name to fit the format requirement.

If the person I am providing the data to users ArcMap, I zip a file or personal geodatabase.  If I must export to a shapefile I usually copy and paste one record from the original feature class into a spreadsheet and send the spreadsheet along with the shapefile.  The spreadsheet would show what the full field names were before conversion to the shapefile.

You could set up aliases in a layer and export a layer file and send that layer file to the other user to display a readable field name, but the underlying field name will be truncated.

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

You can't, it is a limitation of the dbase format which is part of the shapefile.  You have to go in and set an alias for use within a project.

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MVP Honored Contributor

Shapefiles field names have a maximum character length of 10 characters.  This is a requirement of the format and cannot be overridden.  Therefore there is no way to convert a field with a name longer than 10 characters into a shapefile without changing the name to fit the format requirement.

If the person I am providing the data to users ArcMap, I zip a file or personal geodatabase.  If I must export to a shapefile I usually copy and paste one record from the original feature class into a spreadsheet and send the spreadsheet along with the shapefile.  The spreadsheet would show what the full field names were before conversion to the shapefile.

You could set up aliases in a layer and export a layer file and send that layer file to the other user to display a readable field name, but the underlying field name will be truncated.

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Regular Contributor

Field names are limited to 10 bytes. When using english this is 10 characters. When using multibyte languages this can be significantly shorter. Using Kanji (Japanese) the charcters take up 2-4 characters. This potentially limits you to 2 character field names.