Buffering failed: Errors occurred during the buffering operation (with SDE geodatabase)

Last Published: April 25, 2020

Error Message

When saving the results of a buffer to an SDE geodatabase, ArcMap returns this message:

"Buffering failed: Errors occurred during the buffering operation."

Saving the results to a personal geodatabase may return this error:

"Error: One or more layers failed to draw: General function failure [Buffer_of_layername] Syntax error in date in query expression '#SHAPE#'."


The data being buffered may be from an ArcIMS map service. ArcIMS feature classes have pound signs in the shape field name, '#SHAPE#'. The pound signs cause a conflict when trying to save the output to a geodatabase.

Solution or Workaround

  1. Save the buffer output to a shapefile instead of a geodatabase.
  2. Export the shapefile to a geodatabase.

    You can export an layer in ArcMap to a Geodatabase feature class.


    1. Start ArcMap and add data to the Data Frame, if needed.
    2. Right-click the layer to be exported.
    3. Select Data > Export Data.
    4. Click the Browse button.
    5. Change the output type dropdown list to Personal geodatabase feature class.
    6. Navigate to the geodatabase where you want to save the output.
    7. Click the Save button.
    8. Click OK.

Article ID:000004450

  • ArcMap 8 x
  • ArcMap 9 x

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