I normally work using .shp or .dwg files but have been asked by a client to supply survey data in "File Geo-Database (.fgdb)" format. Is this a recognized File geodatabase file extension? From what I can see this file extension is for Fontographer for Mac, and .gdb is the correct file extension. Or is .fdgb a legacy file format? Would someone be able to clarify this for me?

Also a ESRI File Geodatabase export from QGIS 2.18.3 seems to output a directory with contents (e.g. \myData.gdb...) rather than a singular file. Is this expected behavior?

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    Welcome to GIS SE! As a new user please take the tour to learn about our focused Question and Answer format. The tour states there should only be one question per question. If you have two questions (as you do here) they should really be asked as two separate questions.
    – Midavalo
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


An Esri File Geodatabase is a folder with contents. The entire folder makes up the geodatabase (if you remove any of the contents the geodatabase will likely stop working).

The extension for an Esri File Geodatabase is .gdb - I don't believe it has ever been .fgdb, although "File Geodatabase" is shortened informally to "FGDB" when some users refer to it (i.e. referring to the database, not to the extension).

  • Some users refer to file geodatabases as FGDB but I don't think that abbreviation appears in any documentation. The folder name has always been .gdb (not .fgdb). When file geodatabases were first announced I suggested that they be called folder geodatabases.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 19:15
  • @PolyGeo I have updated my answer, although a quick search of ArcGIS Desktop Help site has brought up a handful of places where "FGDB" is used in the documentation.
    – Midavalo
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 19:18
  • for example How Sample works which has a section which says "An example of an FGDB table output from the Sample tool follows"
    – Midavalo
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 19:19
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    Probably one of those abbreviate everything users got an internship writing some documentation :-)
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 19:21
  • The Esri library is named "FileGDBAPI", but referring to file geodatabases as "FGDBs" is extremely common. References to a ".fgdb" in a GIS context are extremely rare (and just as wrong) before this Q&A (though there is a Fontographer file type with that extension)
    – Vince
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 22:36

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