Problem: Some features in a shapefile do not draw when using ArcMap Zoom tool


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


The spatial index for the shapefile has become corrupt.

Solution or Workaround

In a read-write shapefile, the spatial index is stored in two files that have the extensions SBN and SBX. In a read-only shapefile, the extensions are FBN and FBX. These files have the same name as the shapefile, and can be viewed in the directory with the shapefile using Windows Explorer.

  1. Start ArcCatalog. Navigate to the folder where the problem shapefile resides.
  2. Right-click the shapefile, and click Properties.
  3. Click the Indexes tab. Under Spatial Index, if the statement 'The shapefile has a spatial index' is displayed, click Delete; the spatial index is removed.
  4. Re-create the spatial index by clicking Add, Apply and OK.

    The spatial index promotes quicker display when the data is drawn in ArcMap.
  5. The spatial index for a shapefile created in ArcView GIS 3.x has a slightly different format than that used in ArcGIS Desktop, and the same drawing problem may occur when that shapefile is added to ArcMap. This problem is also resolved by replacing the spatial index for the shapefile.
  6. For additional suggestions, refer to Knowledge Base article 27429 'How to salvage a corrupt shapefile' in the Related Information section below.

Related Information