Renfrewshire is, since 1996, one of 32 council areas used for local government in Scotland. Located in the west central Lowlands, it is one of three council areas contained within the boundaries of the historic county of Renfrewshire, the others being Inverclyde to the west and East Renfrewshire to the east. The term Renfrewshire may also be used to refer to this historic county, also known as the County of Renfrew or Greater Renfrewshire, which remains in use as a registration county and lieutenancy area.
Although containing the traditional county town of Renfrew, from which its name derives, the centre of local government in Renfrewshire is found in the nearby town of Paisley, which is the area's main settlement. Renfrewshire borders the south-west of Glasgow, lying on the south bank of the River Clyde, and contains many of Glasgow's commuter towns and villages. The council area also stretches southward into a more rural area where if includes the former parishes and towns of Lochwinnoch and Howwood. Scottish Places provide an outline map of the Council Area.