will the number of fields affect the speed of exporting a shapefile?

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07-15-2013 09:22 AM
yunkexiang
New Contributor
I am trying to export a subset from a really big dataset(million level). There are 20 fields in the shapefile but I don't really need all of them.
But I am making the trade off between the processing time of deleting the fields and the processing time of exporting with the extra fields.
Does anyone know if it will speed up the exporting process if I delete more fileds from the shapefile?
Thanks.
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1 Reply
RichardFairhurst
MVP Honored Contributor
I am trying to export a subset from a really big dataset(million level). There are 20 fields in the shapefile but I don't really need all of them.
But I am making the trade off between the processing time of deleting the fields and the processing time of exporting with the extra fields.
Does anyone know if it will speed up the exporting process if I delete more fileds from the shapefile?
Thanks.


The more fields you delete the slower I would expect that process to be.  The entire table still has to be read and recreated with each field being deleted.  That is effectively an export each time you delete a field.  But you don't have to delete any fields to exclude fields from an export.

Why not first try creating a layer and hiding the fields you don't want to export.  Those fields will not be in the export output from the layer and should not be read during export (other than to skip over the field if it is between fields you keep).  That way you don't lose the data on the original feature class, but avoid transferring it in the new feature class.  The layer field visibility settings can be changed for all of the fields you want affected without triggering any table read and you should gain speed during export and on your final export feature class.

The Feature Class to Feature Class tool can also export a feature class with just a subset of fields (it can even rename fields and change the data type characteristics of fields during the creation of the new feature class).
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