How do I export data from a layer file to a shapefile?

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07-11-2014 09:40 AM
AlexanderGanin
New Contributor II

I have a layer that defines a connection to a database on an ArcGIS server on the LAN. If I right click it I don't see the "Data" or "Export" item in the menu. On the other hand if I start from a shapefile and create a layer for this shapefile the "Data" menu item with options such as "Export Data", "Export to CAD" is accessible...

In other words if I understand correctly the "lyr" file defines a data source for the features of the layer. And I see these features on the ArcMap. The problem is I can't export them to a shape file (so that I can see the data attribute table and able to access the features without a connection to the data source).

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AlexanderGanin
New Contributor II

I resolved the issue some time ago, but maybe this info will be useful for someone.

The problem stemmed from the fact that the DB data were provided by a MapServer. Of course it looked as a regular layer in ArcMap but from what I understood after reading the docs the Map service provides imagery of the features for ArcMap instead of the actual shapes and coordinates. It turned out that the DB also provides the Feature service. Once I used that to add the layer to the map data export and all other conversion tools in ArcToolbox became available.

Perhaps it would be good if ArcMap let me know the reason why it can't export the data to a shapefile in the first place.

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5 Replies
ISP_graynic
Occasional Contributor II

Layer files don't contain data so these file types cannot be exported.  It contains a reference to the data and the symbology to draw it, but not the actual data.  I believe to export the data it would need to be a layer package.  A layer package contains the layer file as well as the shapefile it references.  A lot of agencies will make .lyr files available, that way the user cannot edit the data but only view it.

Hope this helps!

AsrujitSengupta
Regular Contributor III

Open that Layer file in ArcMap(simply double clicking on it will open that in ArcMap)--> The layer will show up in the Table of Contents--> R-click on the layer--> Export data--> Export the desired layer as a shapefile.

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DanPatterson_Retired
MVP Esteemed Contributor

To quote the original poster " If I right click it I don't see the "Data" or "Export" item in the menu"

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TimothyHales
Esri Notable Contributor

I've moved your post into the Managing Data space. You will get a much better answer here as the GeoNet Help is intended for community help and feedback. You can see more on the community structure, and what topics are under each space from the following documents:

GeoNet Community Structure

ArcGIS Discussion Forums Migration Strategy

Thanks!

Timothy

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AlexanderGanin
New Contributor II

I resolved the issue some time ago, but maybe this info will be useful for someone.

The problem stemmed from the fact that the DB data were provided by a MapServer. Of course it looked as a regular layer in ArcMap but from what I understood after reading the docs the Map service provides imagery of the features for ArcMap instead of the actual shapes and coordinates. It turned out that the DB also provides the Feature service. Once I used that to add the layer to the map data export and all other conversion tools in ArcToolbox became available.

Perhaps it would be good if ArcMap let me know the reason why it can't export the data to a shapefile in the first place.

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