I'm attempting to split a feature class of polygons by another set of polygons. The steps I've taken are synonymous with those here. I select the polygons I want to use as the split, and edit using the "split polygons" tool the feature class I am trying to split. I end up with funky results as I show in the following picture:

enter image description here

Wherein the red lines are the polygons I want to use to split the black polygons. The selected polygons are a single selected polygon I am using to demonstrate the funky result I am having. Additionally, some other polygons split like they should normally, though replicate themselves multiple times in the results.

  • Anytime you encounter strange topology behavior you should always validate the topology of your data source. Please Edit the question to specify the data format(s) of your feature classes, and to specify the version of ArcGIS and license level in use.
    – Vince
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 3:20

1 Answer 1


What you call funky polygon is a multipart polygon. You can convert those polygons into sets of single parts polygons using the "explode" tool in an edit session. Alternatively, you can also use "convert multipart to single part" tool from the toolbox to convert all multipart polygons of a layer into multiple single part polygons.

That being said, you could also use the union tool to create new polygons every time there is an intersection between red and black polygons. Then select by attribute and remove those that only contain 'black polygon" attribute, which will result in the contours of black polygons divided by red polygons. This would be much faster the edit tools if you have a large number of "splits".

  • The advice in your second paragraph worked brilliantly, thank you!
    – Kyle Allen
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 20:06

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