I have created a fishnet grid (3km x 3km) over a vector polygon.

I now want to clip the fishnet over the vector polygon retaining all grid squares within the boundary of the polygon.

Therefore I want all squares that would typically be clipped into partial squares to remain as whole squares.

Does anybody know how to do this?

  • Are you sure you don't want to UNION instead of CLIP? Either way, making a subset of the fishnet is not necessary (and may not result in time savings).
    – Vince
    Jan 7, 2015 at 11:26

4 Answers 4


By default, the Fishnet tool creates a polygon/polyline grid using the bounding box of your study area. Try one of the following workflows:

Option 1:

  1. Create Fishnet
  2. Clip fishnet with the study area polygon

Option 2:

  1. Create Fishnet (choose polygon fishnet output)
  2. Select by Location

enter image description here


You are mixing a lot of terminology which is making your question rather confusing. You talk about "clipping" but then state "within the boundary" and finally you say you want all whole squares, that's 3 different things!

I'm assuming that you want all squares that are intersecting the polygon, which would include all whole squares completely within the polygon and whole squares touching the boundary of the polygon. Therefore, what you want is to use the Select By Location tool with the relationship of Intersects.

This will select those squares which you then export to a new dataset.

  • Hi, sorry the question wasn't clear but you are right about what I'm trying to do. In the select by location tool which selection method should I use to only select the whole squares within the polygon and the whole squares touching the boundary of the polygon?
    – Jen7
    Jan 7, 2015 at 11:39
  • Set input to your fishnet, relationship to INTERSECT, selecting features to your polygon layer, leave distance blank and selection type to NEW_SELECTION.
    – Hornbydd
    Jan 7, 2015 at 11:44

Although designed for working with Data Driven Pages, I think the Grid Index Features tool will meet your requirement for a fishnet with no rectangular polygon features outside your shapefile:

Creates a grid of rectangular polygon features that can be used as an index to specify pages for a map book using Data Driven Pages. A grid can be created that only includes polygon features that intersect another feature layer.

After that you will need to decide whether you want to keep all rectangular polygons around the edge or to Clip this grid index using the original shapefile.


You should first clip the boundary of interest, then use that to create the fishnet, versus creating the fishnet with the entire boundary.

enter image description here

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