Delete Features (Data Management)


Deletes all or the selected subset of features from the input.

If the input features are from a feature class, all rows will be deleted. If the input features are from a layer with no selection, all features will be deleted.


  • This tool accepts layers with selections as input and will delete only those features that are selected. To delete specific features from a feature class, convert the feature class into a layer using Make Feature Layer or by adding it to the display. A selection can then be applied using the Select Layer By Attribute or Select Layer By Location tool or by querying a map layer or selecting features interactively using selection tools from the Selection group on the Map tab.

  • If a layer is input, and that layer does not have a selection, all features will be deleted. If a feature class is input, all features will be deleted.


    Deleting all rows from a feature class with a large number of rows can be slow. If your intent is to delete all the rows in the feature class, you should consider using the Truncate Table tool instead. See the Truncate Table documentation for important cautionary statements on its use.

  • This tool deletes both the geometry and attributes of the Input Features.

  • The Extent environment is honored by this tool. Only the features that are within or intersect the output extent environment will be deleted. If the input layer has a selection, only the selected features that are within or intersect the output extent will be deleted.


ParameterExplanationData Type

The feature class, shapefile, or layer containing features to be deleted.

Feature Layer

Derived Output

NameExplanationData Type

The updated feature class.

Feature Layer

Code sample

DeleteFeatures example 1 (Python window)

The following Python window script demonstrates how to use the DeleteFeatures tool in immediate mode.

import arcpy
arcpy.env.workspace = "C:/data"
arcpy.CopyFeatures_management("majorrds.shp", "C:/output/output.gdb/majorrds2")
DeleteFeatures example 2 (stand-alone script)

The following stand-alone script demonstrates how to use the DeleteFeatures tool to delete features based on an expression.

# Name:
# Description: Delete features from a feature class based on an expression
# Import system modules
import arcpy
# Set environment settings
arcpy.env.workspace = "C:/data/airport.gdb"
# Set local variables
inFeatures = "parcels"
outFeatures = "C:/output/output.gdb/new_parcels"
tempLayer = "parcelsLayer"
expression = arcpy.AddFieldDelimiters(tempLayer, "PARCEL_ID") + " = 'Cemetery'"

# Execute CopyFeatures to make a new copy of the feature class
arcpy.CopyFeatures_management(inFeatures, outFeatures)
# Execute MakeFeatureLayer
arcpy.MakeFeatureLayer_management(outFeatures, tempLayer)
# Execute SelectLayerByAttribute to determine which features to delete
arcpy.SelectLayerByAttribute_management(tempLayer, "NEW_SELECTION", 
# Execute GetCount and if some features have been selected, then 
#  execute DeleteFeatures to remove the selected features.
if int(arcpy.GetCount_management(tempLayer)[0]) > 0:



Only those features that are within or intersect the extent will be deleted.

Licensing information

  • Basic: Yes
  • Standard: Yes
  • Advanced: Yes

Related topics