How to query a shapefile using another shapefile in ArcGIS?

For example: I had one shapefile with states, another shapefile with towns. Now I want to query towns using the states file like towns of particular states.

Note: I can extract the data using clip , union or intersect tools in ArcGIS. Here, I don't want to extract data, I need to view the data.

  • 1
    ArcGIS has an option for joining or relating existing spatial objects (shapefiles and other). Your question is however a bit unclear on the purpose of your quest. I suspect that this question has already been answered in this forum.
    – ragnvald
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 6:42
  • 1
    possible duplicate of Select points under polygons?
    – Erica
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 11:41

1 Answer 1


You can use "select by location". See the "selection" tab in the menu. This allows you to write query like 'town' is inside 'country'.


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