I'm trying to clip one shapefile with another in ArcMap 10.1, but every time I try I get an error saying "overlay not polygon". I'm pretty new to GIS - is clip the right tool to be using here? I've also tried intersection (as suggested in other threads) but that doesn't work either.

Here's a picture

1 Answer 1


One of your layers (the coastline) is a polyline layer. You are probably trying to clip with it and the tool would not work. However, it looks like your coastline forms a closed shape and probably could be converted to a polygon feature class if you really want to clip with it. Feature To Polygon tool might help to convert it.

EDIT (thanks to Paul): One could use a polyline as clipping shape, but only to clip polylines and points. This tool can clip with features that have equal or higher geometry dimension value than the features being clipped (dimension is 0 for points, 1 for lines, 2 for polygons). For more details see the link in Paul's comment.

  • 1
    You beat me to the answer by 10 seconds.
    – Fezter
    Nov 13, 2013 at 5:19
  • 3
    That's not entirely true: you can clip with lines, you just need your input FC to be lines or points. See the help. @Fezter, same!
    – Paul
    Nov 13, 2013 at 5:20
  • @Paul. Thanks for the correction. I've added a note and removed the wrong sentence.
    – 0kcats
    Nov 13, 2013 at 17:50

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