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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.

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    How large your shapefile? Can you verify that it is not corrupted? – Alex Tereshenkov May 7 '14 at 11:40
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    What scale are you zoomed in at on your map document when you load the shp file? – Dan_h_b May 7 '14 at 13:32
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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.

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  • 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! – Michael Stimson May 7 '14 at 22:20
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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.

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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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