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Problem: Shapefile features disappear when zooming or panning in ArcMap

Description

When zooming or panning in a shapefile in ArcMap, some features disappear.

Cause

The shapefile's spatial index is stale or corrupt.

Solution or Workaround

Before taking these steps, ensure that the shapefile is backed up.
 

  1. Start Windows Explorer.
  2. Navigate to the folder where the shapefile is stored.
  3. Look for two files with SBX and SBN extensions. If the shapefile is called PARCELS, the files that form the spatial index will be PARCELS.SBN and PARCELS.SBX.
  4. Delete the two files. If there is only one file, delete it.
  5. Open ArcMap and try panning and zooming to see if the problem is resolved.
  6. If deleting the spatial index fixed the problem of features disappearing, a new spatial index can then be created in ArcCatalog: How To: Build a spatial index for a shapefile