Table of contents
    1. 1. Known "Limitations"
      1. 1.1. Calculating raster areas for intersecting polygons
        1. 1.1.1. To calculate the area for a single selected polygon
      2. 1.2. No support for 1-to-many relationships for symbolizing or labelling
      3. 1.3. Shortcut keys don't work in Style Manager
      4. 1.4. Can't select after turning off Default Annotation Group
      5. 1.5. 'word spacing' has no effect on splined text
      6. 1.6. Can't select annotation when default group not visible
    2. 2. Known Bugs
      1. 2.1. ASCIIGRID doesn't verify prj file is valid
      2. 2.2. ArcMap labels to annotation crash on undisplayed layer
      3. 2.3. ArcCatalog? crashes on copy empty feature dataset
      4. 2.4. ArcMap crashes on open
      5. 2.5. "Display resolution in TOC" screws up Layout Zoom tools
      6. 2.6. adding X,Y text data to ArcMap fails with SQL error
      7. 2.7. shapearc ignores precision of source file
      8. 2.8. layerexport ignores projection when shapefile to coverage
    3. 3. Unconfirmed Bugs
      1. 3.1. Close table before Stop Edit crash
      2. 3.2. ArcCatalog? crashes on copy feature dataset
      3. 3.3. ArcMap sketch tools unavailable for covers with polygon topology
      4. 3.4. ArcMap crashes when finishing a sketch and snapping a feature less than 0.00x apart
      5. 3.5. Unable to select or edit elements at small zoom level
      6. 3.6. Weird gaphic element selection behaviour
      7. 3.7. Sometimes on 'Save Edits' Arcmap will silently and completely crash.
      8. 3.8. 'Save Edits' in ArcMap can move your geometry.
      9. 3.9. Coordinate Drift between datatypes
      10. 3.10. Die silently on select "size & position"
    4. 4. ArcMap v8.3
      1. 4.1. Measured grids round off errors
      2. 4.2. REGIONDISSOLVE screws up attributes
      3. 4.3. Convert Labels to Annotation hangup.
        1. 4.3.1. Initial problem run
        2. 4.3.2. Verification
    5. 5. UnwantedBitmapPrinting
    6. 6. DataShiftOnEdit


    this page is largely out of date and needs to be refactored, marking fixed bugs as fixed, and moving still relevant ones to ArcBugs this page is a scratchpad of the bugs and gripes I've documented so far. It's a pain to add entries too because the document is so long now. I'm working out how to break each item into it's own topic for easy updating, but please don't let that stop you from adding to the list now! (in this or another page) MattWilkie - 10 Oct 2003

    ArcGIS has been out for a few of years now, but is still buggy and feature incomplete. It is not really feasible yet to drop ArcInfo or even ArcView3. There are some really cool features in v8, it's just too bad the programs are still so unreliable. Hopefully being squeaky wheels will help shorten how long it takes get the ArcGIS family out of beta.

    Unless otherwise specified Incident# refers to 'ESRI Canada Incident Number' and CQ# to 'ESRI International Bug/Enhancement Number'.



    Known "Limitations"

    When a bug has been around long enough to accumulate a published body of documentation it becomes a "known limitation" in ESRI parlance. When asked directly whether known limitations are scheduled to be fixed or addressed ESRI Tech-support Peons have a tendency to be silent and answer a different question instead.



    Calculating raster areas for intersecting polygons

    Can't be done. Promised for v9.0.

    What is the total surface area for each raster-class (value) within polyons X, Y & Z? Zonal Statistics will give me what I need if I break each classification out into it's own raster but that's kind of extreme.

    The scenario is: I have a series land cover classification rasters derived from satellite images. I need to know how many square kilometers of each vegetation type there is in each game management district (which are defined by polygons).

    "...this has been added to the software interface in the 9.0 release. In the interim you can continue to accomplish this somewhat manually using zonal statistics or through code using the IZonalOp::TabulateArea method. A sample of this method can be found in the ArcObjects? Developers Kit Help."


    To calculate the area for a single selected polygon

    The procedure to calculate area of zones in a grid is outlined in the ArcGIS Desktop Help.

    • Open the ArcGIS Desktop Help
    • On the Contents tab Expand Extensions
    • Expand Spatial Analyst
    • Double click Spatial Analyst Functional Reference
    • The will bring up a new window - Spatial Analyst Functional Reference
    • Type: ZonalArea? in the keyword to find.


    ...which is very expensive needing lots of ram, disk space and cpu time, but it lead to something that will work. Namely:

    &set item = 0
    &set cellX = 30; &set cellY = 30
    &do zone &list [listunique somegrid.vat -info count]
       &set item = %item% + 1 
       &set area_%item% = %zone% * %cellX% * %cellY%
    &listvar area_*
    Since the math behind this is so trivial it really should be part of the info returned by the Identity tool.


  • Incident# 48815, Kimberly Da Ros


    No support for 1-to-many relationships for symbolizing or labelling

    It turns out that ArcMap does not support 1-to-many relationships for symbolizing (one polygon = many associated database records). Yech. Using relate you can define a 1-many relationship that works for the identify tool, but that is it.


    You are correct in that this functionality is not available in the software as of yet. ... "ArcGIS needs cross tab functionality so labels/symbology, etc. can be used when you have a 1:M or M:N relate". As of today, the status of this enhancement is 'postponed'. This means that it has been logged with development and is considered a valid issue but it will not be considered immediately. I have sent a request on your behalf to Redlands to have you added to this enhancement as a user who would like to see this fixed sooner rather than later. Right now the only option is to reverse the relate and make a join since joined fields can be seen in labelling and symbology."


  • Incident# 48342, Dana Guterres, dguterres@esricanada.com
  • CQ# CQ00166978
  • ESRI forum: http://forums.esri.com/Thread.asp?c=93&f=989&t=99754
  • ArcMapOneToMany? - exploring possible workarounds

    mhwilkie - 22 Jul 2003


    Shortcut keys don't work in Style Manager

    In ArcMap (v8.3) Tools > Style Manager the shortcut keys specified in the menu available from the right-click menu do not work ([Ctrl-C] for copy, etc.).


  • Incident# 47918, Michael O'Meara, momeara@esricanada.com
  • CQ# CQ00171988
  • MattWilkie - 30 Jun 2003


    Can't select after turning off Default Annotation Group

    ArcMap 8.3: Can't select or modify text or graphic elements in named Annotation Groups when the Default Annotation Group is turned off. To Replicate: Create a new annotation group, put some stuff in it, turn off the Default AnnoGrp? , attempt to select elements on the named AnnoGrp? layer.


  • Incident# 47961, Michael O'Meara, momeara@esricanada.com
  • CQ# CQ00157670
  • MattWilkie - 30 Jun 2003


    'word spacing' has no effect on splined text

    In ArcMap 8.2, the "word spacing" and some other character formatting commands have no effect on splined text. On the fly projected text and any text with more than 2 control points is subject to the same limitation. See SplineTextFormattingBug? .


  • Incident#: 41389
  • ESRI Technical Article: Formatted text tags appear as plain text on the map
  • MattWilkie - 01 Oct 2002


    Can't select annotation when default group not visible

    In ArcMap 8.2, one can't select annotation elements on a named annotation group when the default annotation group is not visible. See SelectAnnotationBug? .


  • ESRI Technical Article: Can't select graphics or text in an annotation layer
  • Incident#: 41386
  • MattWilkie - 01 Oct 2002



    Known Bugs


    ASCIIGRID doesn't verify prj file is valid

    The ASCIIGRID command in ArcInfo workstation doesn't check to see if it actually understands the projection parameters in accompanying prj files. It just blindly copies any file, verbatim, named "my-ascii-grid.prj" into "my-ai-grid\prj.adf".

    If the user doesn't do anything right away which checks the grid's projection the bad projection file can go months without being discovered. Any subsequently derived grids will also have invalid prj.adf files. To fix this kind of grid simply remove the "prj.adf" file. If you are lucky you will know what the projection is supposed to be and can PROJECTDEFINE it.

    Note: this same bug is likely to occur with other comamnds too, FLOATGRID for instance.


  • Incident#: 53848, Mike O'Meara
  • CQ#: pending
  • -- MattWilkie - 12 Mar 2004



    ArcMap labels to annotation crash on undisplayed layer

    (fatal) Converting labels to annotation for an undisplayed theme crashes arcmap


  • Label a shapefile layer (might apply to other datatypes)
  • Turn layer off, so it is not displayed.
  • Right-click > Convert Labels to Annotation > BOOM!
  • I repeated your steps but it crashed without the BOOM! wink - actually someone beat you to that bug as of September 9th 2003 (CQ00174940). Hopefully this will be fixed for 9.0. I personally believe that the option should simply be greyed out... -- JC


  • Incident# 50293, Jason Cummings
  • CQ#: CQ00174940
  • mhwilkie - 10 Oct 2003



    ArcCatalog? crashes on copy empty feature dataset

    To replicate:
    1. Create a personal database,
    2. create new feature dataset
    3. select feature dataset > r-click > copy
    4. r-click > paste
    5. OK
    6. BOOM!


  • Incident#: 49077, Dana Guterres
  • CQ#: CQ00211869

    ArcMap crashes on open

    "Error: ArcMap.exe has generated errors and will be closed by Windows"

    This error can be caused by one or more system conflicts. This is a general Windows error that can have an innumerable amount of causes and solutions. Contrary to the error message, there is no log file created. See the ESRI support doc linked above for the complete troubleshooting procedures.

    MattWilkie - 04 Nov 2002



    "Display resolution in TOC" screws up Layout Zoom tools

    In ArcMap 8.2, when the properties for a raster layer are set to "Display resolution in table of contents" the Layout Zoom tools appear to be zooming the dataframe instead of the layout. More details in LayoutShiftBug? .


  • Incident# 41278
  • CQ#: CQ00089009
  • MattWilkie - 26 Sep,1 Oct 2002



    adding X,Y text data to ArcMap fails with SQL error

    ArcMap pukes on files with certain non-alphanumeric characters in their name, most aggravating the hyphen "-" is one of them. http://forums.esri.com/Thread.asp?c=93&f=1149&t=68750&mc=3#178830


  • Incident# 39822
  • MattWilkie - 23 Jul 2002



    shapearc ignores precision of source file

    The ArcInfo command shapearc creates a single precision coverage regardless of the shapefile's precision unless the environment is set with precision double double. E.g. precision double highest is ineffective.

    Work around: use the commands layer define and layerexport instead.


  • Incident#: 41097
  • CQ#: CQ00131559
  • MattWilkie - 19 Sep 2002


    layerexport ignores projection when shapefile to coverage

    The ArcInfo command layerexport always creates coverage with no projection regardless of whether the shapefile.prj exists or not.

    Test case:

       LAYER DEFINE xxlayer1 shapefile merged_qoa.shp LINE
       LAYEREXPORT xxlayer1 COVERAGE merged_qoa Line


  • Incident#: 41100
  • CQ# CQ00114760
  • MattWilkie - 19 Sep 2002






    Unconfirmed Bugs


    Close table before Stop Edit crash

    When Editing in ArcMap in a table, if you do not save your edits and "Stop" Editing before closing your table, it will crash ArcMap. This is very frustrating because you loose all your other edits.

    Solution for the time being: NEVER close your attribute tables in ArcMap while in Edit Mode.

    -- Manon - 14 Aug 2003



    ArcCatalog? crashes on copy feature dataset

    To replicate:
    1. Create a personal database,
    2. create new feature dataset
    3. select feature dataset > r-click > copy
    4. r-click > paste
    5. a dialog titled "Data Transfer" opens. It looks like the intent of the dialog is to rename the target, however the field is not editable.
    6. Press OK
    7. !boom!

    Might have something to do with unsipported characters in the name, like a space (which begs the question of why you are allowed to create a feature dataset with a space in it...)

    mhwilkie - 14 Aug 2003




    ArcMap sketch tools unavailable for covers with polygon topology


    MattWilkie - 24 Jul 2002


    ArcMap crashes when finishing a sketch and snapping a feature less than 0.00x apart

    The title of this bug is not necessarily accurate. i.e. the crash may have nothing to do with the coordinates' distance apart, that is just my best guess as to what the cause is.

    ESRI Canada Incident# 39823: (matt's pooter)/GIS/ESRI-tech/Incident#39823/

    ESRI's response is "convert to shapefile, edit, and then convert back to a cover". Sheesh.


    I don't know how much we can trust ArcEditor? v8. There is something weird going on here. I ran the nodeerrors? ArcMap macro on the nqfntt cover (AdminBoundaries? poject) and found a polygon with one gap in it. Because of the extend/trim bug I DROPFEATURE the polygon cover, did the extend edit, and then CLEANED the cover, building a poly. A couple of the polys did not close so I ran the nodeerror macro again - 5 dangle errors showed up, all gaps of less than 1 cm. I fixed one of the gaps and CLEANED again, this time the polygons were all closed. So where the hell did those other four dangle errors go? The second clean should not have fixed them because the tolerance was maxed out (e.g. <0.000000001 when the gaps were 0.00x -- as reported by the Arcmap measure tool).

    Status: Unresolved.

    MattWilkie - 23,31 Jul 2002



    Unable to select or edit elements at small zoom level

    If you zoom in enough, there is a good chance you won't be to select or edit the elements which you can see plain as day in front of your face. Very frustrating.

    Status: Unresolved.

    MattWilkie - 01 Aug 2002


    Weird gaphic element selection behaviour

    Related to the above bug. Sometimes a graphic element which is a long way away (e.g 700km)from where you are looking, off screen for instance, is selected instead.

    Both of these bugs are frequently experienced when trying to select and delete the markers left behind from the NodeErrors? macro.

    I suspect these occur when the snapping tolerance is set to map units instead of pixels.

    Status: Unresolved.

    MattWilkie - 01 Aug 2002


    Sometimes on 'Save Edits' Arcmap will silently and completely crash.

    Not much more to say here except save early and save often.

    Status: Unresolved.

    MattWilkie - 01 Aug 2002



    'Save Edits' in ArcMap can move your geometry.

    See AdminBoundaries? for details.

    Status: Unresolved.

    MattWilkie - 20 Aug 2002


    Coordinate Drift between datatypes

    This one is very disturbing. In ArcMap linework from different datasources, which were all generated from the same source dataset, do not line up on top of each other. To see it, open 250k watercourses from the ArcLibrary? , Skyraider SDE, and an AdminBoundaries? coverage (must be new, not from z:\arcdata\...). Zoom in until the lines drift apart. yech.

    True the vertexes are only a centimeter to a millimeter apart. Now. But what happens after years of data processing? Do centimeter gaps turn into meter gaps?

    See CoordinateDrift? for an attempt to isolate and identify the culprit.

    Status: Partially resolved. Not a bug but a (probably unaddressable) limitation of the data models.

    MattWilkie - 16 Sep 2002



    Die silently on select "size & position"

    On opening the project 4 error messages are seen: "Raster Data Objects Error. Invalid Raster dataset. Failed to insert picture element." After okaying the error messages the map compisition opens, with all of it's data layers intact and visible. 2x-click anywhere in the Layout View panel, select Size & Position ,whammo - SilentDieOnSize?



  • Cause: Path not found to embedded picture(s).
  • Incident#: 42043, Dana Guterres
  • Status: Resolved.

    MattWilkie - 04 Nov 2002


    ArcMap v8.3



    Measured grids round off errors

    when producing a UTM grid and you want to round the number off, ArcMap rounds off from the first digit rather than the decimal point. So for example northings are rounded off to the nearest thousand while easting are rounded to the nearest ten thousand when what actually want is both of them rounded to the nearest thousand.

    Gerry Perrier discovered this and is supposed to write it up

    -- 13 June 2003






    REGIONDISSOLVE screws up attributes

    When using regiondissolve and the output cover is the same as the input cover, the resultant attribute values are screwed up. If the output cover is a new cover, and the output class has a different name, the attributes are correct.


    test case (matt's pooter)\GIS\ESRI-tech\regiondissolve
    Arc version ARC 8.3 (Wed Dec 18 08:17:08 PST 2002)
    * Incident#: 47514

    Incorrect results:

    Arc: regiondissolve watersheds # order_2 order_2 poly
    Arc: list watersheds.pat 1 2 order_2
    Record  order_2
         2  PORCUPINE R.           # <- original attribute
    Arc: list watersheds.patorder_2 1 2 order_2
    Record  order_2
         1  &#9786;   &#9786;   PORCUPINE R.   # <- resultant attribute
         2  &#9787;   &#9787;   PEEL R.

    Correct results:

    Arc: regiondissolve watersheds test order_x order_2 poly
    Arc: list test.patorder_x 1 2 order_2
    Record  order_2
        1  PORCUPINE R.
        2  PEEL R.

    Oh brother. I duplicated the error 3 times before I sent it to ESRI. Today, using exactly the same data and exactly the same steps, it all works like it is supposed to.




    Convert Labels to Annotation hangup.

    Project: GIS2003-020, Eagle Plains Ecoregion, Landsat-Mosaic.mxd

    When converting qpark labels to annotation geodatabase.

    Two prior runs were successful, and speedy. However polygons which were not entirely within the dataframe did not have labels placed. The View > Overflow Labels window remained empty.


    Initial problem run

    Convert Labels to Annotation dialog:

    • In the map (Qpark Anno2)
    • All features in layer = yes
    • Generate overlapping labels for all layers = No
    • Display overlapping labels in the overflow window = Yes
    • Reference scale = 1:250,000


  • the destination geodatabase was open for editing.

  • two arcmap.exe's visible in process list; first process using 100% of cpu2 and ~117mb of ram (goes up albeit slowly). The second is 0% cpu and ~90mb of ram (stable).

  • killed the first process, and the arcmap window closed. However the second process remained running, stll cpu:0% and ram:90mb.
  • killed #2, and Hydravision dialog appeared "could not assign hotkey" (earlier I had tried to "Enable application settings" for arcmap")


    tried to reproduce the problem. First try, duplicated convert step, without the gdb being open for editing. Worked like a damn.

    Second try, exactly the same settings: ArcMap froze on redraw. status line said: "drawining annotation in Ecoregions."; cpu:50%, ram:99mb (1 process).

    Again, while ArcMap window was open.

    1. qpark > label = yes 1. qpark > convert labels to annotation 1. qpark > label =

    • bang!

    okay, I've narrowed it down to: you can't have the source cover and the output gdb enabled at the same time.



    Bug: ArcMap rasterizes map that contains no raster; output is jaggy

    ESRI:27674 - ArcMap makes a raster layer and all layers below that layer into a bitmap on output.

    Reportedly addressed in the upcoming ArcGIS v9 service pack 2.

    Gerry Perrier - 24 Nov 2004



    Hello all,

    Turns out there is a shift in data when using the editing tools (editor menu --> clipping, intersecting) in Arc9. This is because it uses the single precision of the data frame rather than that of your dataset.

    From the sounds of the ESRI Knowledge Base it has a work around by doing your editing inside a personal geodatabase and setting your precision to double, however I don't believe that it is possible to do in a shapefile.

    So for us there are three options:


  • do any geoprocessing in Arcview 3.X (which doesn't have this precision issue)
  • do the geoprocessing in ArcMap and clean the data in ArcInfo (if boundary follows river or physiographic feature this may not line up)
  • create all new data as personal geodatabases and set the precision etc. to double (I do not have much knowledge of geodatabases so this option will have a learning curve)
  • The former is likely the best option however from an end user perspective none of these options sound very good.


    -- DiedreDavidson - 19 Nov 2004

    As of v9.1 this bug still exists:


    "Thank you for contacting ESRI Canada Technical Support. In regards to your question about CQ00176597, unfortunately it is still listed as a known limit. There are a few other documented CQ documents related to this problem with other Geoprocessing tools and ArcSDE? layers and some of them suggest that the possible fix is to happen in ArcGIS version 9.2. This is a known limitation with shapefiles, ArcSDE? layers and geometry. It is a precision issue."

    Note that I have observed geometry shifing in personal geodatabases as well (I still have some more testing to do though to be sure I didn't screw up in some other way). I think the only safe way to edit in a pgdb is to ensure all feature classes are contained within a single feature dataset.


    Thanks to Ray Carnes on the 'shifting, shifting, shifting' thread below I've determined that putting all feature classes within a single feature dataset does cause all layers to be remain coincident -- at least for the import stage. We'll see what happens with edits over time.

    The root cause is that when simply importing a new layer into a pgdb the spatial domain and precision is different everytime, and therefore the snapping grid is different. ESRI:27335

    Note that setting a cluster tolerance of 1cm (0.01) is NOT the same as spatial domain precision of 1cm (100). The former ensures that there are no vertices WITHIN 1cm of each other (A is 2.4 thefore B must be 3.4 or 1.4), while the latter does the same AND ensures that coordinates themselves fall on even cm boundaries (A is 2.0 therefore B must be 3.0 or 1.0)

    -- MattWilkie - 10 Feb 2006

    For clarity, there are two problems being discussed here. The first is the real and unavoidable bug that when editing shapefiles in ArcMap certain operations cause the geometry to shift. The second circumstance of coordinate shifting within personal geodatabases is avoidable by ensuring all layers share the same spatial domain and precision.

    -- MattWilkie - 13 Feb 2006

    Another twist to this issue: "... are not able to snap a GDB polygon vertex to a shapefile vertex. Sure, when you move the vertex it 'snaps', and displays coincident with the .shp vertex, but sure enough, when you 'Finish Sketch', it hasn't truly moved. It can only get 'so-close', and that's it." -- brought to light by Justin Wolff on the SHIFTING! thread

    -- MattWilkie - 05 Apr 2006

    Related ESRI Bug ID's


  • CQ00176597 - Merging two adjacent polygons in a shapefile results in a shift. This is a known limitation with shapefiles and geometry. It boils down to a precision.
  • CQ00191714 - polygons in shapefile shift when two poly gons are merged together. This bug deals mainly with the issue of ArcSDE? layers converted to shapefiles. Once user tries to merge the shift is evident. New numbers are NIM001077. NIM000450
  • CQ00188395 - Merging polygons in State Plane Oregon South NAD83 results in a slight shift.
  • CQ00195084 - Dissolve Produces Small Shift of Polygons.
  • Related Discussion:


    -- TWikiGuest - 24 Nov 2004







    TopicCategory ArcBug



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