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A Shapefile is a common file format which contains numerous features of the same type. Each shapefile has but a single feature type.

  The classic three files
filename.shp shapes
filename.shx shapes to attributes index
filename.dbf attributes
  Basic metadata
filename.prj projection
  Open source extensions
filename.qix quadtree spatial index
filename.fix feature id index
filename.sld style-layer-descriptor style xml object
  ESRI extensions
filename.sbn attribute index
filename.sbx spatial index
filename.lyr arcmap-only style object
filename.avl arcview style object
filename.shp.xml fgdc metadata

You can save any changes made to your shapefiles appearance by choosing export from the Style dialog and saving a sld file.

If you are having trouble displaying your shapefile with other layers you may be lacking a prj file. You may wish to look up a resonable projection using the uDig CRS dialog (righ click on a map) and cut & paste the result into a prj file using a text editor.

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