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Select Data


The Select Data tool selects data in a parent data element such as a folder, geodatabase, feature dataset, or coverage.

The tool allows access to the data stored inside a parent container, such as feature classes or tables inside a geodatabase.

Learn how Select Data works in ModelBuilder


  • This tool is intended for use in ModelBuilder and not in Python scripting.

  • Selecting the child from the parent using this tool enables you to continue processing after performing a task where the output data is a container, such as a feature dataset, and the next tool in the model requires a feature class.

  • The tool's output always includes the full path to the child dataset.

  • When building models where the input to Select Data does not exist, the name of the child data element may need to be typed in.


SelectData_mb (in_dataelement, {out_dataelement})
ParameterExplanationData Type

The input data element can be a folder, geodatabase, or feature dataset.

Data Element; Composite Layer

The child data element is contained by the input data element. Once the input data element is specified, the child data element control contains a drop-down list of the data elements contained in the input data element. For example, if the input is a feature dataset, all the feature classes within the feature dataset are included in the drop-down list. A single element is selected from this list.



This tool does not use any geoprocessing environments.

Licensing information

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