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Using geoprocessing tools
Using the tool dialog
Whenever you execute a tool using its dialog or as a command in the Command Line window, information about the execution is written as a result in the Results tab of the ArcToolbox window.
There are a number of useful things you can do with results, such as
- View status of a tool executing on an ArcGIS Server.
- Review the input parameters used to create the result.
- Reexecute a process that created a result, thereby creating a new result.
- Add a result's output to a map display.
- Review a result's processing messages.
- Review environment settings used.
- Delete a result and its output datasets.
- Remove a result from the list of results.
- Copy and paste a result into a model.
- Copy a Python code snippet that created the result for pasting into your Python script.
Unlike the progress dialog or the Command Line window, the Results tab maintains information between application sessions. That is, you can retrieve information about a tool you executed weeks ago. Results are kept until you delete or remove them. Results are part of the geoprocessing settings, which are written when the application closes and read when an application is opened.
Learn more about geoprocessing settings
NOTE: Results are not created for tools executed within a script or model, only those executed using the tool dialog or in the command line.
Each result contains the following, in order:
- The output datasets and values
- The input datasets and values
- The environment settings used in tool execution
- All messages
Components of a result
Input and output datasets are shown with the appropriate dataset icon (such as
for polygons). Input and output values are shown with the value icon (
Useful operations are found on context menus, which you open by right-clicking an entry in the Results tab. Each of these context menus is described below.
Current session context menu
Delete All will delete all results in the Current Session list. All output datasets referred to by the results will be deleted, as well as any input feature or record sets (data created using interactive feature or row input). If you choose Delete All, a message box will open, asking you if you're sure you want to delete all output data.
Remove All simply removes all result information from the list. No output data is deleted.
Previous session context menu
Remove All will remove all results from the Previous Session list. No output data will be deleted.
Result context menu
Open will open the tool dialog. The parameters in the dialog will be populated with the input and output values of the result.
Copy will copy the result for pasting into a model or in the Command Line window.
Remove will remove the result from the list. No output data will be deleted.
Rename lets you rename the result.
Copy As Python Snippet will copy a Python code to the clipboard so you can paste it into your script. Below is an example of the copied Python code for the Clip result above:
After pasting the code into your script, you'll need to add the geoprocessor object to the method, as follows:
(When you create the geoprocessor object in your script, you can give it any name you want. The examples throughout the help name the object "gp".)
will delete all output datasets as well as any input feature or record sets (data created using interactive feature or row input), and will remove the result from the list. A message box will open asking you if you're sure you want to delete all output data.
If the tool executed on ArcGIS Server, the context menu will have three additional choices, as illustrated below.
Server tool result context menu
Cancel will cancel a currently running tool.
Get Data will copy the data from the server to your computer. After copying, the status will either be <data in local temp location>, <data exceeds transfer limit>, or <data unavailable>.
Add Server Layer will add a map service containing the data to ArcMap.
Learn more about working with ArcGIS Server tool results.
Input or output dataset
Dataset context menu
Add to Display will add the dataset to the display. This choice is only available in applications that have a display such as ArcMap. This choice is not available in ArcCatalog.
Copy Location copies the pathname of the dataset for pasting into anything that accepts text such as a tool dialog, the command line, or a text editor.
You can drag and drop datasets from the result into a tool dialog.
If your input or output dataset is named <data in local temp location> as shown below, the data resides in memory or in your system's temporary folder. The data will not be deleted as long as you have an ArcMap layer that references the data.
Learn more about preserving temporary data
If you want to preserve the data, you should probably copy it from this temporary location to a known location. An easy way to do this is to use the Copy
tool, dragging and dropping the dataset from the result into the input features parameter of the tool.
Input or Output values
Value context menu
Copy will copy the text of the value for pasting into anything that accepts text such as a tool dialog, the command line, or a text editor.
You cannot drag and drop the text of an input or output value.
Under Environments, you'll find environment settings that were in place when the tool was executed. Only nonempty (not blank) environment settings are listed. Note that environment settings that have no effect on tool execution will be listed.
There is no context menu for environments or their settings.
Results, history, and metadata
Whenever a tool is executed, information about the execution is written to
Unlike the progress dialog or the Command Line window, the results tab maintains information between application sessions. That is, you can retrieve information about a tool you executed weeks ago.
Results are not part of the geoprocessing settings that you can save to a file. Results are kept until you delete or remove them.
Learn more about geoprocessing settings
You want to manage the number of entries in the Result tab for two reasons:
- Too many result entries makes it hard to find the few results you may be interested in.
- Each time you open ArcCatalog or a map document, the contents of the Result tab must be loaded. The more entries you have, the longer it will take to open (and save) the application.
To help you manage the number of results, you can choose a duration for keeping results, as shown below.
Keep result younger than option
When you close ArcCatalog or a map document, entries older than the duration you choose will be removed from the Results tab.
NOTE: No data will be deleted—just the entries in the Results tab are removed.