There are four primary ways to create a new feature class in your geodatabase or database:
- Using ArcCatalog or the Catalog window
- Using the Create Feature Class geoprocessing tool
- Saving the contents of a map layer in ArcMap
- Converting an external data source into a geodatabase feature class (for example, converting a shapefile or CAD file)
You create empty feature classes in the Catalog tree. New feature classes can be created as stand-alone feature classes or as part of a feature dataset in a geodatabase. They can also be contained within the following structures: shapefile, coverage, CAD, SDC, and VPF.
When creating a feature class, you choose whether to create one that stores polygons, lines, points, annotation, multipoint, multipatch or dimension features. Refer to Defining feature class properties for information about the various properties that need to be set during the creation of a new feature class.
All feature classes in a feature dataset must use the same spatial reference, which is defined when the feature dataset is created. The exceptions to the rule are m domains; feature classes in the same feature dataset can have different m domains. When creating a stand-alone feature class, you must define its spatial reference.