Polygon to point using the basic ArcGIS license

During my time in University I got used to the luxury of having the Advanced (formerly ArcInfo) ESRI license. Since then I have found that there are often ways to do the same tasks with lower licenses but in a couple more steps. Here is one example of converting polygon centroids to points (the Polygon to Point tool requires the advanced license).

  • Open the table of the Polygon layer and add 2 new fields called ‘x’ and ‘y’. Make sure the type is ‘double’ or at least ‘long integer’.
  • Still in the table view right click on the field name ‘x’ and select “Calculate Geometry…”. Under Property select ‘X Coordinate of Centroid’ and select the appropriate Coordinate System and Units. Repeat for the Y centroid.
  • Under the table menu (the icon is located in the top left-hand corner of the table), select ‘Export…’ and save the table (I generally save in text/csv format). Add the new table to ArcMap.
  • Right-click on the table in the Table of Contents, and select ‘display x,y, coordinates’. Identify the x, and y fields, and the coordinate system. Select OK.
  • The points of the polygon centroids should now be displayed. This however is only a temporary file, so export this temporary point file to a geodatabase or shapefile (right click on layer, Data>Export data…)
Where to find ‘Export data…’. Use this to save a layer after joining an attribute table.

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