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Feature Class To Shapefile


Copies the features from one or more feature classes or layers to a folder of shapefiles.


  • Shapefiles have many limitations compared to feature classes in a geodatabase. For example, shapefile attributes cannot store null values; they round up numbers, they have poor support for Unicode character strings, they do not allow field names longer than 10 characters, and they cannot store both a date and time in a field. Additionally, they do not support capabilities found in geodatabases such as domains and subtypes.

    Learn more about shapefile limitations

  • The name of the output shapefile will be the name of the input feature class. For example, if the input is C:\base.gdb\rivers, the output shapefile will be named rivers.shp. To explicitly control the output shapefile name and for some additional conversion options, see the Feature Class To Feature Class tool.

  • If the output shapefile already exists in the Output Folder, a number will be appended to the end to make the shapefile name unique (for example, rivers_1.shp).


FeatureClassToShapefile_conversion (Input_Features, Output_Folder)
ParameterExplanationData Type

The list of input feature classes or feature layers that will be converted and added to the output folder.

Feature Layer

The folder where the shapefiles will be written.


Code sample

FeatureClassToShapefile example 1 (Python window)

The following Python window script demonstrates how to use the FeatureClassToShapefile function in immediate mode.

import arcpy
from arcpy import env
env.workspace = "C:/data/airport.gdb"
arcpy.FeatureClassToShapefile_conversion(["county", "parcels", "schools"],
FeatureClassToShapefile example 2 (stand-alone script)

The following stand-alone script demonstrates how to use the FeatureClassToShapefile function.

# Name:
# Description: Use FeatureClassToGeodatabase to copy feature classes
#  to shapefiles
# Import system modules
import arcpy
from arcpy import env
# Set environment settings
env.workspace = "C:/data"
# Set local variables
inFeatures = ["climate.shp", "majorrds.shp"]
outLocation = "C:/output"
# Execute FeatureClassToGeodatabase
arcpy.FeatureClassToShapefile_conversion(inFeatures, outLocation)

Licensing information

  • ArcGIS Desktop Basic: Yes
  • ArcGIS Desktop Standard: Yes
  • ArcGIS Desktop Advanced: Yes

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