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ArcGIS Pro

Create A shapefile in ArcGIS Pro

Create A shapefile in ArcGIS Pro: A Step-by-Step Guide

Working in ArcGIS Pro? You should listen to our Podcast!

Launch ArcGIS Pro:

  • Start the ArcGIS Pro application on your computer and open your project.

Navigate to the Catalog Pane:

  • On the main ribbon, click on the View tab.
  • Choose the Catalog Pane option to open it.

Establish a Folder Connection:

  • In the Catalog Pane, find the Folders section.
  • Right-click on Folders and choose Add Folder Connection.
  • Browse to the directory where you wish to create or access the shapefile and select it.

Initiate Shapefile Creation:

  • In the folder you’ve connected to, right-click on the desired location.
  • Hover over New in the context menu and then select Shapefile.

Configure Shapefile Properties:

  • Name: Provide a suitable name for your shapefile.
  • Geometry Type: Define the type of geometry for your shapefile. You’ll have options like:
    • Point
    • Multi-Point
    • Polyline
    • Polygon
    • Multi-Patch
  • Use the dropdown menu to pick the geometry type you need.

Determine the Coordinate System:

  • You’ll be prompted to select a coordinate system for your shapefile.
  • You can either choose from the list of commonly used systems, use the current map’s system, or search for a specific one.
  • Ensure you pick a coordinate system that aligns with the nature and location of your data.

Finalize Shapefile Creation:

  • Once you’ve configured all properties, click on the OK or Create button.
  • Your new shapefile will now be available in the folder connection you established.

Optional Editing:

  • If you wish to add features or edit the shapefile:
    • Navigate to the Edit tab on the main ribbon.
    • Use the tools available to create or modify features, attributes, and more.

Save Your Work:

  • After making any edits or additions, ensure you save your work.
  • Close ArcGIS Pro if you’re done with your session.

And that’s it! You’ve created a new shapefile in ArcGIS Pro. As always, for more detailed instructions or if you encounter any issues, refer to the official ArcGIS Pro documentation or seek assistance from GIS professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Creating A New Shapefile In ArcGIS Pro

Certainly! When it comes to creating shapefiles in ArcGIS Pro, here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) that users often have:

What is a shapefile?

  • A shapefile is a popular geospatial vector data format used in GIS software, representing features as points, lines, or polygons.

Why can’t I see the “New Shapefile” option in the context menu?

  • This could be due to not having the right permissions in the directory or not being in the correct location within ArcGIS Pro.

What’s the difference between a shapefile and a geodatabase feature class?

  • While both store spatial data, a geodatabase feature class is stored within a geodatabase and can support advanced functionalities, whereas a shapefile is a standalone format with certain limitations.

How do I choose the right coordinate system for my shapefile?

  • The choice often depends on the geographic extent of your data and the purpose of your project. Local or regional projects might use a specific projected coordinate system, while global projects might use a geographic coordinate system.

Can I convert other data formats to a shapefile in ArcGIS Pro?

  • Yes, ArcGIS Pro provides tools to convert various data formats, such as KML, GeoJSON, and others, into shapefiles.

Why is my shapefile not displaying correctly on the map?

  • This could be due to a mismatch in coordinate systems between the shapefile and the map or issues with the shapefile’s data.

How do I add attributes to my shapefile?

  • Attributes can be added using the attribute table, where you can define new fields and populate them with data.

Is there a limit to the size of a shapefile?

  • Yes, individual shapefiles have a size limit of 2GB. If you anticipate working with larger datasets, consider using a geodatabase feature class.

How do I share my shapefile with others?

  • Shapefiles consist of multiple files (e.g., .shp, .shx, .dbf). To share a shapefile, you need to ensure all associated files are included, often by zipping them together.

Can I edit a shapefile in other GIS software?

  • Yes, the shapefile format is widely recognized and can be edited in various GIS software applications.

About the Author
I'm Daniel O'Donohue, the voice and creator behind The MapScaping Podcast ( A podcast for the geospatial community ). With a professional background as a geospatial specialist, I've spent years harnessing the power of spatial to unravel the complexities of our world, one layer at a time.