This error makes little sense because 95% of the time this works without any problem, but here is the situation:

I am clipping polygon A by polygons B-H.

While most of the time this works perfectly, occasionally this happens: enter image description here

All layers are from the same coordinate system, and the processing extent is the same as polygon A when I setup the clip. Polygons C-H clip just fine without any errors, so it is usually polygon B that has the issue; however, most of the time there are no issues whatsoever. The polygons do overlap each other. I have repaired the geometry, but the results are the same.

Given that it isn't a coordinate problem, a processing extent problem, or even a geometry problem, what else could it be causing this error, and what would I have to do to resolve this problem?


The error happened again with my largest set of Polygon A; however, I then deleted 75% of the Polygon A set and it worked just fine. So my question now is: how limited is the Clip feature when it comes to large areas, and is there a way around this without having to divide the Polygon A shapefile into several segments?

  • Welcome to GIS SE! Can you verify that features would remain after the clip?
    – Barbarossa
    Mar 29 '16 at 20:50
  • Thank you. The objective is to get the areas for each of the Polygons B-H (Buildings, Driveways, Roads, etc.) that are within the area of Polygons A. I have over 58 different Polygon A's that I have worked with so far. My methodology for the clip is that I put the specific Polygon A into the "Input Features," Polygons B-H into the 'Clip Features' individually, and then make sure the processing extent is the same as Polyong A
    – Puppetkon
    Mar 30 '16 at 23:28
  • Normally, this works well with the new clipped polygon having all the features of Polygon A so I can then calculate the areas, but for 4 of them (so far), this error appears and only with Polygon B.
    – Puppetkon
    Mar 30 '16 at 23:35

Unfortunately, ESRI error codes are never super descriptive. I've hit this before, and there are several things that could possibly be going wrong:

  1. Try to Repair Geometry, it's possible that you have a feature with either null or corrupted geometry.

  2. Make sure no features are selected when you are running this tool.

  3. Make sure there are no spaces in the output folder.

  4. Make sure your polygons actually do intersect

  5. Sometimes I find that if I change the output to a shapefile instead of a file geodatabase (or vice versa), I will not run into the same error as I just received.


In this case, it was the one polygon in the Polygon A file creating the error.

I found this out by making several copies of one of the Polygon A's in ArcCatalog and dividing them into several sections in ArcMap. All the sections except one clipped without any errors, so I zoomed in and found this:

enter image description here

Apparently, the file I was given was drawn in a way that it created an overlap between the start and end points that was preventing the clip. After deleting one of the points, the clip for the entire Polygon A ran just fine.

So, if none of the other solutions work out, it could possibly be a polygon drawn incorrectly. Fix the polygon, and the clip should run just fine.


I've been having a similar issue when trying to clip a really large dataset. Inconsistently though, I don't really understand why.

I didn't want to fix the geometry problem (it's an SDE dataset anyway and I don't have editing privileges) so I just did a crude workaround as follows: Select by Location > Create layer from selected features > Export Data.

Annoying but better than trying to fix a feature class with > 300 000 features.

  • This work around..works!
    – cr0
    Mar 20 '18 at 19:17

In a similar case, changing the processing extent in the environment settings worked for me. Initially the processing extent was "Default". I changed it to "Union of Inputs". And it generated a shapefile with the desired output.


i also came up with same problem i.e. error000117. Repair geometry will help!!

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