Clip a multiband image using ArcGIS and Spatial Analyst

Last Published: April 25, 2020


This article pertains to ArcGIS versions 8.x and 9.x only. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.

Instructions provided explain the procedure to clip or sub-set a multiband image. The Spatial Analyst extension is required.


To use this procedure a masking dataset that covers the area to be clipped is required. The dataset may be a raster or a polygon feature class and should be in the same coordinate system as the raster being clipped.

  1. Add the individual bands of raster to ArcMap. Do not add the raster as a multiband. Each band should be its own separate layer in ArcMap's Table of Contents.
  2. Add the masking dataset to ArcMap.
  3. Navigate to Spatial Analyst > Options.
  4. On the General tab set the Working Directory.
The path to the Working Directory may not have any spaces. For example, a folder called 'My Documents' may cause an error, but 'My_Documents' does not.
  1. On the General tab set the Analysis Mask to the masking dataset.
  2. On the Extent tab set the extent to the masking dataset.
  3. On the Cell Size tab set the cell size to the clipping raster.
  4. Click OK.
  5. Open Spatial Analyst > Raster Calculator.
  6. Double-click on the first band in the Layers list. This puts the band into the expression box below.
  7. Click Evaluate. A new calculation layer will be added to ArcMap's Table of Contents.
  8. Repeat Steps 10 and 11 until all bands of the raster have been clipped.
  9. Right-click on each new calculation layer and save it to a raster dataset with Make Permanent.
  10. Open Spatial Analyst > Raster Calculator.
  11. Use the MAKESTACK function to make an ESRI Grid Stack from the calculation layers.
MAKESTACK <outstack> LIST <band1> <band2> <band3>
Where <outstack> is a name for the output stack and <band1>, <band2>, <band3> are the calculation layers.
  1. Optionally, the output stack may be converted to a TIFF, IMG or ArcSDE Raster in ArcCatalog.

Article ID:000005338

  • ArcMap 9 x
  • ArcMap 8 x

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