Apologies if I'm not going to explain myself too well, but I'm very new to this.

I have a layer with a series of separate polygons (squares) and another shapefile layer with different attributes and I want to clip that shapefile to my polygons so that the attributes are transferred to the polygons.

I have tried clipping, spatial joining and intersecting but none of them do what I need.

Is there a way to extract by shape using those polygons?enter image description here

Here is what the attribute table for the road looks like. Initially it was split in much many more polygons, I have dissolved them by NoiseClass already, but had to give the option to have more than one polygon per NoiseClass as the shapefile is too large and it would otherwise crash.

road attribute table squares attribute table

  • 1
    But intersect do this, why is not a desired ouput?
    – aldo_tapia
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 18:10
  • Thanks for your reply! For some reason intersect is just creating a series of polygons for each attribute type with the shape of the square, while what I am try to get is a series of squares that have the attributes of the layer they overlap with. Where am I going wrong with this?
    – Nina
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 18:31
  • 1
    You want your output to be unaltered squares with attributes from the roads/rivers oer whatever they are?
    – Bera
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 18:36
  • Exactly BERA! Thanks for putting this in much better words than I could. (And yes, they are roads)
    – Nina
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 18:39
  • 1
    Each feature has their own attributes, I see 5 kinds at least. So, I don't know what you want or if it's possible
    – aldo_tapia
    Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 18:40

2 Answers 2


To keep the square geometries intact and with an attribute table looking something like this:

N12323  45645               42121               4542        
H324    21541               545                 24424       

You can try:

  1. Intersect squares and roads, save output in a file geodatabase to get a shape area column
  2. Pivot table (Advanced license needed) with Intersect as input and with shape area as value field, noise class as pivot field and plan_no as input field
  3. Join pivot table back to the squares using plan_no as join field
  4. Use Copy Features to save as new feature class

Not sure if this is what you want though.

  • 1
    Thank you ever so much for this! After quite a bit of tweaking it finally worked! You really saved my life here, I had been going absolutely crazy with this for weeks! :)
    – Nina
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 17:39

As I understood from what you look for, you can use (Symmetric difference) tool.

For example: I have two shapefiles one (with 4 squares) and the other (with land use)

enter image description here

Then I will use symmetric difference:

enter image description here

And the output shape files something like this: enter image description here

Is that what you look for? if not! can you draw on paper how you want your result to look like (small sketch), to give us a better idea

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