Unable to import custom .prj files with additional comments


Projection files (.prj) are used to store the projected coordinate system defining the parameters and the linear units used in the projection with the description of the geographic coordinate system. In ArcGIS Desktop 10.3 and previous, it is possible to create a custom .prj file with additional comments and special characters such as asterisk (*), as shown below.

Picture showing an example of additional comments with asteriks
However, importing a custom .prj file with comments and special characters to ArcGIS for Desktop 10.4 and later fails, and returns the following error message.
Failed to get a coordinate system from <filename>.prj; the file may be corrupt.
Error message


Starting with ArcGIS for Desktop 10.4, .prj files must include only projection parameters and information related to coordinate systems. Additional comments and the use of special characters in .prj files is no longer supported. Prj files containing text unrelated to the projection parameters render the .prj files corrupt.

Solution or Workaround

Remove the additional comments and characters from the custom .prj files. Ensure only projection parameters are stored in the custom .prj files.

Article ID:000017133

  • ArcMap

Get help from ArcGIS experts

Contact technical support

Download the Esri Support App

Go to download options

Related Information

Discover more on this topic