MapWindow uses three different types of Shapefiles:
- Line Shapefile: Composed of line segments that may be interconnected but don't have to be. Can have vertices; these can be anchor points about which a line turns, for example.
- Point Shapefile: Composed of individual points. Cannot have vertices, as the point itself is the shape.
- Polygon Shapefile: Composed of solid shapes composed of interconnected vertices. Can have vertices; these are anchor points about which the lines composing the shape turn.
In addition to Shapefiles, MapWindow may display grids, images, and TIN data. In the example image below of Whatcom County, the green segments are a polygon shapefile, the purple segments are a point shapefile, and the deep blue segments are a line shapefile.