Knowledge Base - Technical Articles

Technical Article   HowTo:  Convert a 2D shapefile to a 3D shapefile

Article ID: 31629
Software:  ArcGIS - ArcEditor 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1 ArcGIS - ArcInfo 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1 ArcGIS - ArcView 9.0, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.3.1
Platforms:  Windows 2000, XP


Instructions provided describe how to convert a 2D shapefile to a 3D shapefile using the ArcGIS Desktop 3D Analyst extension.


  1. Verify that the 3D Analyst extension is turned on by navigating to Tools > Extensions. Check 3D Analyst if it is not already checked.
  2. On the 3D Analyst toolbar, click '3D Analyst' and navigate to Convert > Features to 3D.

    If the 3D Analyst toolbar is not visible, navigate to View > Toolbars and select 3D Analyst.
  3. Select the 2D shapefile as the input feature.
  4. Select one of the three options for the 'source of height' of the 3D shapefile:

    • Raster or TIN requires a raster or TIN dataset that contains elevation values.

    • Input Feature Attributes requires a field in the input feature class that contains elevation values for the features.

     In order to see the field in the tool, the field data type must be a number.

    • Numeric Constant is a constant z-value that is applied to all the features.
  5. Specify the location of the 3D shapefile in the 'output features' box and click OK.

Related Information

Created: 8/18/2006
Last Modified: 5/3/2011

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