ArcGis Pro not showing shapefiles

12-07-2021 03:46 PM
New Contributor

Hello Everyone,

I'm having trouble with ArcGis Pro. It seems that my shapefiles are all visible, but their attributes tables are empty. They don't populate on the map either except for Alberta, as shown in the screenshot. I've added another screenshot showing what my project looked like before this happened.

Here's what happened:

- saved file a couple days back and closed ArcGis.

- opened file today and it said backup version was newer so i opened that instead.

- everything seems to work - no corruption or errors. Some shapefiles that were imported work fine. The ones that I created however seem to not be working - except everything in Alberta.

MY QUESTION: Is there any way for me to recover what my project looked like previously, or do I need to start over?


I've tried looking for previous versions of file already to no success. the .aprx itself seems to not have been updated since i last saved it, but the .gdb looks like it updated some files today.


PS. This is an urgent matter as my project is due tomorrow, I'd love some pointers as to how I can fix this issue!


Best Regards,





2 Replies
Regular Contributor

In your SHAPEFILES folder (I assume you keep your shapefiles there!) there should be a DBF file for each SHP file (as well as some others.) 

So for example for OntarioEVStations there should be several files, for example





and if the DBF file is missing then you have a problem, because that is where your attributes are stored. Then you need to recreate the file somehow. 

If it's there you can import it into MS Excel or Libreoffice and look at it to see if there is still data in it.DON"T CHANGE IT. If you open in a spreadsheet just close without saving. This is just to see if there is still data in it. If the data is missing, you need to create the data again somehow.

Step one in any project for me is to import the shapefiles into a project file geodatabase. Shapefiles are how data gets from a web site to my computer, then I immediately import them and ignore the shapefiles unless some disaster happens and I have to import them again.



New Contributor III


Adding to Brian's recommendation, your post indicates that the features you created are also no longer displaying on the map i.e. you cannot see both the spatial and attributes of the features you created. Therefore the first step I would do is to the load the shapefiles in a new .aprx. If you cannot see either the spatials or the attributes in a new .aprx, it means that the data is no longer there.

Your post indicates that you created the shapefiles and that you received a message that the .aprx backup was newer than the .aprx that had been saved. One possible reason as to why the spatials and attributes are no longer available is that the edits were not saved and that these edits were made after the .aprx had been saved. 

I strongly support Brian's recommendation on using a file geodatabase as it a lot more efficient and safer when things go wrong.

Good luck with the project.

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