When I attempt to add a shapefile from a folder to my ArcMap document I receive this message.

Why am I unable to add this shapefile? I've looked around for a similar issue, however other posts deal with open error "Getting “Failed to open tool” message when trying to run geoprocessing tool from C# code" or Error opening feature class of geodatabase in ArcGIS for Desktop? Don't really deal with my same issue.

Here is the message I receive:

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All of the files and folders are in the same format and accessible the same way.

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All the extensions are available and don't appear to be corrupt in anyway.

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Here my shapefile icon displays black question mark in a green box.

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Here are all the files in ArcMap except for the "glpv1" shapefile

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When I open the file using QGIS, it displays and works just fine.

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  • 2
    do you have the .dbf file?
    – artwork21
    Dec 20, 2016 at 17:13
  • apparently not, that's seems to be the issue?
    – whyzar
    Dec 20, 2016 at 19:18

2 Answers 2


Related to my comment, the minimum files to make up a shapefile are the .dbf, .shx, and .shp (.prj is nice to have too). You are missing the glpv1.dbf file.


You can generate a simple *.dbf file with Python as follows:

import shapefile # pyshp
import dbf
import os.path

fn_shp = "glpv1.shp"
myshp = open(fn_shp, "rb")

# If dbf does not exist, create one
fn_dbf = os.path.splitext(fn_shp)[0] + ".dbf"
if not os.path.exists(fn_dbf):
    r = shapefile.Reader(shp=myshp)
    n = len(r.shapes())
    db = dbf.Table(fn_dbf, 'ID N(8,0);')
    with db:
        for i in range(1, n+1):

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