I need to create a Shapefile out of another Spahefile that consists all overlaps of features within the initial Shapefile.

I'm sure there is a simple solution using ArcMap or QGIS, but at the moment I am just lost and somehow I struggle to find something via search engines although I am aware that this question must have been asked a thousand times. The screenshot shows the desired result. My new Shapefile should only consist the darker parts independent on the number of overlapping features.

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2 Answers 2


To get the result you are after use the Intersect (Analysis) tool with only one input feature class. If you read about How Intersect works it says:

Intersect can run with a single input. In this case, instead of discovering intersections between the features from the different feature classes or layers, it will discover the intersections between features within the single input. This can be useful to discover polygon overlap and line intersections (as points or lines).

  • Thank you. Even me, I tried to use the tool at first but it created an empty output. This empty output seems to be created because of another issue, that I have to figure out.
    – Gideon
    Jun 3, 2014 at 6:10

In arcgis, you can use the Clip tool under Analysis Tools -> Extract. This will export out a new shapefile where any overlap occurs.

  • So you mean I take the same SHP as Input and Clip Feature? Wouldn't that result in a new SHP that is the same to the initial one?
    – Gideon
    May 30, 2014 at 12:56
  • 2
    Nevermind, I thought you had two shapefiles but it looks like its all one shapefile but categorized separately. I would use PolyGeo suggestion on Intersect.
    – Gizzle
    Jun 2, 2014 at 11:49

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