I'm using ArcMap 10.3. (Fairly new to GIS in general!)

I have two polygon shapefiles - school district and council districts - where the polygons overlap irregularly (meaning a school district can intersect with several council districts and vice versa). There is no key field to link them in any way.

I'd like to create a table that relates the two--really for analysis outside of ArcMap. Someone asked this for QGIS, with some passing references to ArcMap here: Creating many-to-many table from intersection between two polygon layers in QGIS?

But I'm hoping for some direction on ArcMap. Seems like it should be doable.

  • Welcome to GIS SE! As a new user please take the tour to learn about our focused Q&A format. Did you try some of the suggestions in your linked Q&A using the equivalent ArcGIS tools?
    – Midavalo
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:16
  • The OP there made reference to relates in ArcMap, which I dismissed. But looking again, I see that he landed on using Union/Intersect in QGIS. Will look into the equivalent. (Missed that!) I see there are tools with those names in ArcMap as well and will look into whether one of those can help. Thanks.
    – s_bklyn
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:40
  • If you have an ArcGIS Desktop Advanced license you could try using the Generate Near Table tool. This tool creates a new table that links two feature classes based on their proximity to each other.
    – Midavalo
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


I ended up using the Intersect tool (similar to the ultimate QGIS answer in the post I linked to). For those who, like me, appreciate some hand-holding:

  1. Opened Intersect tool (ArcToolbox>Analysis Tools>Overlay>Intersect)
  2. For Input, selected both polygon shapefiles (left other options as-is); after running, the new feature was added to my map and saved to file
  3. Exported data to Excel file (Arctoolbox>Conversion Tools>Table to Excel)
  4. For Input, browsed to intersect shapefile created in step 2

Done! Thanks Midavalo for encouraging proper diligence in investigating ArcMap's version of the QGIS tool.

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