There has to be an easy way to do this. Been plugging away for an hour and I don't know if I am brain dead or what.

What I need to do is buffer a polygon on the inside, but only for 500 metres. If you have a look at this image:

Interior Buffer

You can see exactly what I don't want to do. The selected polygons (cyan) I buffered by -100 metres. What I want to do is actually create a buffer for the area from the polygon boundary to where it buffered it here.

  • I know I could do an erase on the original polygon with the above buffered result, but that seems like an extra step and I want a one step solution.
  • I also know I could convert the polygon to a line and then buffer it, but once again extra step extra result.
  • Python programming could sure do this, but I really don't want to waste the time going down that road.

I do believe there is a way to do this, with one tool and one result, if not, well Esri should add that in.

I'm looking to know if there is an Esri ArcGIS Desktop tool to accomplish this?

  • I plan to use the result to display coloured boundaries to differentiate the polygons on a large map. Increasing the border size does not accomplish what I want.
    – Cody Brown
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 14:45

2 Answers 2


You're almost there! Using the standard buffer tool, enter your desired distance as a negative value, then set the line_side parameter to OUTSIDE_ONLY. This will generate areas inside of each polygon, giving the nice look of country borders on a political map when combined with a transparency setting:

Input data

Interior buffer

Taken from my other answer


Super simple. Change side type to 'Outside Only' and you got it:

enter image description here

  • 2
    Once again, an idiot I am.
    – Cody Brown
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 14:51

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