Is there a way of viewing only a part of a shapefile in ArcGIS 10?

At the moment if I try to add it the software crashes.

  • 3
    How large your shapefile? Can you verify that it is not corrupted? May 7, 2014 at 11:40
  • 1
    What scale are you zoomed in at on your map document when you load the shp file?
    – Dan_h_b
    May 7, 2014 at 13:32

3 Answers 3


If you haven't already run a Repair Geometry (either on a copy or have a backup since it makes changes) on your shapefile.

You might also look at this: http://support.esri.com/en/downloads/patches-servicepacks/view/productid/66/metaid/2026?WT.mc_id=EmailCampaigna32104

The definition query may help as well, and if you can't load it into ArcMap without crashing first, go to ArcMap Options - General and uncheck Make newly added layers visible by default.

You might also add a spatial index in ArcCatalog if you haven't already.

  • Spatial index should be just about mandatory for large feature classes. Of course @artwork21 is also barking up the right tree suggesting to import to file geodatabase - 3 levels of spatial index is better than 1! May 7, 2014 at 22:20

Large shapefiles do not perform very well in most GIS desktop software, I would suggest to import it into a geodatabase and load the feature class instead.


You can either use Definition Querry (add shapefile to TOC with layer visibility = false first) or your can try to add spatial index.

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