How to Convert Shapefiles to KMZ

By Ray Padgett

Shapefiles are map files with the SHP file extension used by the ESRI ArcGIS Desktop program, also known as ArcMap. KMZ files are also map files -- used by Google Earth. Google Earth cannot read Shapefiles, so if you're creating or modifying a custom Google Earth map and need to use Shapefiles, you must convert the to KMZ first. Luckily, even though Google Earth is not compatible with both file types, ArcMap is.

Step 1

Open the Shapefile in ESRI ArcGIS Desktop.

Step 2

Select “Export.”

Step 3

Select the KMZ option from the drop-down list.

Step 4

Type in a file name. You can keep the same name, because the different extension will render the two files distinct.

Step 5

Click “Save” to save the new KMZ file -- ready to be used with Google Earth.

Step 6

Repeat all steps for any other Shapefiles you need to convert.