Tools that do not create output datasets

While the majority of geoprocessing tools have an input dataset parameter and produce a new dataset specified in an output dataset parameter, some tools do not create output datasets. Rather, they modify or update the input dataset, or produce messages, output values, or reports.

Tools that modify or update the input data

Tools such as Add Field and Calculate Field add and calculate new attribute fields for the input dataset and do not produce an output dataset. Several tools in the Editing Tools toolbox modify the feature geometry of the input dataset.


You should take precautions when using a tool that modifies the input dataset. If you are unsure if you want to modify the input dataset, you can do the following:

  • A number of geoprocessing tools that modify the input dataset have an Enable Undo option so that the changes the tool makes to the input dataset can be undone.
  • Make a backup copy of the input data, and then run the tool using one copy as input, leaving the other copy in its original state.
  • When input data is stored in a versioned geodatabase, tools will only modify the single version of the data. To apply changes to the rest of the database, the version must be reconciled and posted.

Tools that produce messages, output values, or reports

Tools such as Calculate Value or Get Count write their result as a message or output value, while others, such as Spatial Autocorrelation, write output reports or summaries. You can find these messages, output values, and reports in the geoprocessing history.