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Shapefiles

A shapefile is an Esri vector data storage format for storing the location, shape, and attributes of geographic features. It is stored as a set of related files and contains one feature class. Shapefiles often contain large features with a lot of associated data and historically have been used in GIS desktop applications such as ArcMap.

The primary way to make shapefile data available for others to view through a web browser is to add it to a .zip file, upload it, and publish a hosted feature layer. The .zip file must contain at least the .shp, .shx, .dbf, and .prj files components of the shapefile.

The following list summarizes how you can use shapefiles in ArcGIS Online and provides links to instructions:

Considerations for adding and publishing shapefiles

Keep the following information in mind when working with shapefiles in ArcGIS Online.

  • Compression formats other than a .zip archive are not supported.
  • When you create a .zip file that contains the .shp, .shx, .dbf, and .prj files that comprise the shapefile, store your shapefile directly in the root (the central directory) of the .zip archive, not in directories within the archive. If your .zip file viewer shows path information, the path should be blank.
  • The shapefile must contain valid geometries. If you have ArcGIS Pro or ArcMap, you can use the Repair Geometry geoprocessing tool to correct invalid geometries in shapefiles. Invalid geometries cannot be published or drawn in Map Viewer.
  • The following features are not supported: multipatch or multipoint geometries, geometries that cross the dateline, and self-intersections in polygons. Shapefiles with these features cannot be added to Map Viewer.
  • You cannot drag shapefiles directly onto Map Viewer; you must use the Add button in Map Viewer.