Shape files can be opened and viewed in ArcExplorer, ArcView and ArcMap without conversion or using import utilities.
A free Shape file viewer (ArcExplorer) is available for several platforms from the ESRI web site. Get ArcExplorer viewer now.
A shape file is the ArcView GIS format for storing geometry and attribute information for a coverage. The main advantage of using shape files is that this format will draw more quickly in ArcView than ArcInfo format coverages. Also, shape file coverages can be edited in ArcView. There are 3 files associated with the ArcView shape file format. They have the following extensions: .shp, .shx, and .dbf. For example, if one is working with the aquifer coverage ohbedou, the shape file coverage will contain ohbedou.shp, ohbedou.shx, and ohbedou.dbf. It is very important that these 3 files associated with the shape file be kept in the same folder or directory.