Construct Features and Planarize commands yield inconsistent results with a new shapefile

Last Published: April 25, 2020


The Construct Features command and the Planarize command may yield inconsistent results when a new shapefile is created using the default cluster tolerance.


There are two cases where these commands may not work:

1. The output layer is a new, empty shapefile.

2. The output layer is a shapefile containing only those features created within the current edit session and the map has not yet been closed and reopened.

The Construct Features and Planarize commands use the output layer's x,y domain to calculate the default cluster tolerance. Shapefiles don't store x,y domain information; it is calculated on-the-fly and is updated when the map document is closed. An empty shapefile has a null x,y domain, which is why the default cluster tolerance calculated might be wrong.


There are two options to resolve this problem.

  • Overwrite the default tolerance by using a tolerance that makes sense with the input data. A tolerance greater than or equal to the accuracy of the input data is usually valid.
  • Add features to the shapefile in order to ensure that ArcMap can calculate the correct tolerance.

    1. Load the shapefile into ArcMap and start an edit session.
    2. Add some features to the shapefile.
    3. Stop editing and save the edits.
    4. Exit and restart ArcMap.

Article ID:000006246

  • ArcMap 8 x

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