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I'm using ArcMap 10.1 I recently downloading some files that are in .adf format.

I need to convert them to .shp.

I just simply need step by step instructions of how to convert the data.

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you can use quick import tool in data interoperabilty toolbox to covert your data to arcgis geodatabase then expot those feature class to shape file.enter image description here

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Based on ESRI document you can convert by Feature Class To Feature Class tool:

"Converts a shapefile, coverage feature class, or geodatabase feature class to a shapefile or geodatabase feature class"

example: If you want convert polygon in coverage to shapefile polygon enter image description here

result:

enter image description here

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The answer lies in ArcCatalog. Put all the coverage files in one folder, select all the ones you want to change into shapefiles, right click, export --> shapefile (multiple), then select the output folder and OK. It takes a while but it's so easy!

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