I'm trying to clip two layers in ArcMap. They share spatial features and overlap each other, and they both have the same geographic and projected coordinate systems. It seems like everything should be working, but whenever I run the clip, it generates empty output.

One of these layers ("NMW boundary") was a KMZ file that I converted to a layer. Initially it was a polyline, but after I projected it (initially, it didn't have a projection) it turned into a regular line. I am wondering if maybe that has something to do with my issue, because there isn't anything in the attribute table of the former KMZ file-- but I don't think that should make a difference.

I've attached a picture of the map I'm working on. I'm trying to clip "NG_Roads" to "projected NMW boundary", so that roads only appear within the red outline of "NMW boundary".

enter image description here


1 Answer 1


You are misunderstanding how Clip operates. From your question you are attempting to clip a line layer with another line layer. Per the help file (see the second to last graphic), if both inputs are lines the output is all lines that exist in both layers, aka are coincident - essentially an Intersect.

If you want to clip the roads layer using the NMW boundary, you'll first need to convert that layer to a polygon. If you have an Advanced license, you can use the Feature to Polygon tool. If you don't have Advanced but do have Standard, there's a Construct Polygon method mentioned at ArcGIS Fill Editing Tool. If you only have Basic, we have a few questions with alternative methods, including Creating polygons from lines using ArcEditor/Standard level license of ArcGIS Desktop? Worst case, you can create a new polygon layer and use the Trace tool to create one from the boundary line layer.

  • Ah, I see. I was trying to get the NMW boundary to function like a polygon, rather than a line. That makes sense-- thank you for your help! I was able to use the third link you suggested to create a polygon from lines.
    – ale19
    Apr 15, 2015 at 17:56

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