I have made a map with self made polygons. At the beginning I was so stupid I forgot to add a coordinate system to the new shapefiles. My map is finished now, but I can't export it because the Prj file is missing now.

When I'm trying to change it at the shapefile properties (XY coordinates) the polygon disappears or it moves to someplace in Africa (it is a map from Europe). Does somebody know a solutions for this?


You should check the coordinate system of the data frame.

  1. Double click the data frame to open its properties
  2. Select the Coordinate System tab
  3. Make sure there is a coordinate system defined
  4. If there is more than one coordinate system used in the map (e.g. datasets have different coordinate systems, or the data frame's system is different from the dataset(s)' system, make sure there is a datum transformation selected. Typically if you use a basemap (coordinate system: WGS 1984 Web Mercator Auxiliary Sphere) with datasets projected in a national coordinate system, you will need to define a transformation.

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  • The current coordinate system is RD New (projected->National grids->Europe). If I change the unkown shapefile properties to RD New, that would work right? Or is it better to change the current coordinate system to for example WGS 1984 and the shapefile properties also to WGS 1984? – Watermanagement Nov 29 '16 at 9:46
  • I don't know what the actual coordinate system of your shapefile is, there is only one appropriate system and if you want to change it, you need to use the Project tool. As long as you specify a transformation in the data frame properties you can use any coordinate system for it, it depends how you want the map to look like, and other publishing considerations (how will the published map will be used) – GISGe Nov 29 '16 at 10:12
  • Ah okay, I will try it first with the current coordinate system. Already had a quick look and it seems to work. Thanks for now! – Watermanagement Nov 29 '16 at 10:16

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