I have a feature class in ArcGIS for Desktop 10.3. This feature class contains 12 point features.

I am attempting to export this as a shapefile;

Rightclick feature class -> Data -> Export Data (select filetype of shapefile)

However this is producing an empty shapefile. All the components of this shapefile (CPG, PRJ, SBX etc) are 1kb in size except the DBF which is 165kb and still empty (when opened in excel).

I export feature classes as shapefiles regularly and have not had this issue before.

What are the possible causes of this problem?

  • 1
    Instead of reporting disk usage (in allocation units) please indicate actual bytes (with 12 features the .shx should be 172 bytes). A description of the number and type of attribute fields would also be useful. Please edit the question.
    – Vince
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 11:03
  • 3
    Have you been manipulating the shapefile's dbf table in excel? If so, this is a good way to corrupt the shapefile.
    – Aaron
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 11:35
  • 1
    Do you have a selection or a definition query on the layer?
    – Tom
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


I actually have this happen to me now and again. Usually it happens when I am doing lots of exporting from the table of contents, and when I am sometimes exporting selected records and sometimes all records. It seems sometimes Arcmap will start only exporting selected records. So if I have nothing selected and export all tecords, I get an empty output. So then if I select all records and export, then it works. So that is my workaround--select all the records. Sometimes it helps to reboot Arcmap too.

  • I second trying this. I've had this happen rarely, but it seemed to work when selecting all and exporting only selected.
    – MaryBeth
    Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 1:07

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