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Create a project

Tutorial summary

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  • Video length: 1:16
  • This video was created with ArcGIS Pro 2.0.

ArcGIS Pro helps you organize and manage the resources related to a work project. To do this, it uses a project file (.aprx) as its basic file type. An ArcGIS Pro project may contain maps, scenes, layouts, data, tools, and other items. It may contain connections to folders, databases, and servers. Content can be added from online portals such as your ArcGIS organization or the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.

In this tutorial, you'll create a new, blank ArcGIS Pro project. You'll add a map to the project and convert the map to a 3D scene.

  • Estimated time: 10 minutes
  • Software requirements: ArcGIS Pro

The tutorial steps in the online help reflect the look and capabilities of the current software release. If you have an earlier software version, use the offline help system to open the tutorial. To switch from the online to the offline help system, see About ArcGIS Pro Help. If you don't have ArcGIS Pro or ArcGIS Online, you can sign up for an ArcGIS free trial.

Create a new project

  1. Start ArcGIS Pro and sign in if necessary.
  2. On the start page, click Blank to create a new, blank project.
    Start page with Blank template selected

    If you already have a project open, click the Project tab on the ribbon. In the list of tabs on the left, click New and then click Blank.

    Your study area for the new project will be New Zealand.

  3. On the Create a New Project dialog box, in the Name box, type NewZealand.
    Create a New Project dialog box

    By default, the project will be saved to the path shown in the Location box. If you want to save the project to a different location, click the Browse button Browse and browse to the folder you want.

    The Create a new folder for this project check box is selected by default. It is usually convenient to keep your project files organized in a folder.

  4. Click OK.

    The new project is created. Every new project opens with a catalog view. You may also have some panes open, such as the Catalog and Contents panes.

    Catalog view
    The items in the catalog view may appear in a list format, as in this image, or as tiles. You can change the display with the buttons in the lower right corner of the view.

    Like the Catalog pane, the catalog view organizes the items in your project by type. The catalog view can also be used to preview spatial data and to view and edit metadata. You won't use the catalog view in this tutorial, however.


    If you create a project from a template, additional views may open. For example, a project created from the Map.aptx template opens with both a catalog view and a map view.

Insert a map

First, you'll add a map to your project. When you create a blank project, the Insert tab on the ribbon is selected by default, ready for you to add a new map, scene, or other item.

  1. On the ribbon, on the Insert tab, in the Project group, click New Map New Map.
    Topographic map of United States
    In this example, a topographic basemap is zoomed to the continental United States. Your default map extent or default basemap may be different.

    A new map opens.

  2. On the ribbon, click the Map tab. In the Inquiry group, click Locate Locate.

    The Locate pane opens.

  3. In the Locate pane, in the search box, type New Zealand and press Enter.

    The map zooms to New Zealand and one or more temporary markers are placed on the map. The location is found by the ArcGIS World Geocoding Service, one of the default locate providers (location-finding services) in ArcGIS Pro.

  4. Close the Locate pane.

    The markers are removed from the map.


    If the ArcGIS World Geocoding Service is not available, you may have a different default locate provider. To see your locate providers, click the Settings tab at the top of the Locate pane.

    If you don't have a locate provider that finds New Zealand, on the Map tab, in the Navigate group, click Go To XY Go To XY. In the overlay that appears on the map, type 174E for the longitude and 42S for the latitude. Click the Pan To button Pan To on the overlay to pan the map to New Zealand.

Work with the map and its layers

New Zealand is at the edge of the map, which means that you probably see white space on the right side of the map view. To make the map wrap around the date line, you'll open the map properties from the Contents pane. The Contents pane should already be open in your project. If not, you'll open it in the next step.

  1. If necessary, on the ribbon, click the View tab. In the Windows group, click Contents Contents.
    Contents pane

    The Contents pane lists the map and its layers. This map has the default name Map. The map contains one layer, the Topographic basemap.

  2. In the Contents pane, right-click Map and click Properties Properties.

    The Map Properties dialog box opens. On the left side of the dialog box, the General tab is selected. On the right, general properties of the map are shown.

  3. In the Name box, replace the default name with New Zealand.
  4. Click the Coordinate Systems tab and check the Enable wrapping around the date line box.
    Map Properties dialog box
  5. Click OK.
    New Zealand map

    The map redraws. You can now pan continuously around the world. In the Contents pane, and on the map's view tab, the map has been renamed New Zealand.

  6. On the ribbon, click the Map tab, if necessary. In the Layer group, click Basemap Basemap and click Imagery with Labels.

    The Topographic basemap is replaced by the Imagery with Labels basemap. In the Contents pane, there are now two layers. World Boundaries and Places is a layer of place-names and World Imagery is the map layer.

  7. In the Contents pane, clear the check box next to the World Boundaries and Places layer.

    The layer turns off. A layer's visibility is controlled by its check box.

  8. In the Contents pane, check the box next to the World Boundaries and Places layer to turn the layer back on.
  9. If necessary, in the Contents pane, click the World Boundaries and Places layer to select it (the layer highlights in blue). Drag the layer below the World Imagery layer and release the mouse button.
    Contents pane

    On the map, the labels are no longer visible because they draw under the geography. The top-to-bottom order of the layers in the Contents pane determines their drawing order in the map.

  10. In the Contents pane, drag the World Boundaries and Places layer above the World Imagery layer.
  11. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Save button Save to save the project.

Create a 3D scene

You can work with 2D and 3D views of your data in the same project. In ArcGIS Pro, a 3D view is called a scene. You'll convert your existing map of New Zealand to a scene.

  1. On the ribbon, click the View tab. In the View group, click Convert Convert. In the drop-down list, click To Global Scene.
    3D scene centered on New Zealand

    A 3D scene is created with the default name New Zealand_3D. The scene is now the active view and its contents are displayed in the Contents pane. The 2D New Zealand map is still open in the project.

    From this perspective, the scene doesn't look much different from the map. However, their view tabs have different icons and the scene has a navigation control in the lower left corner of the view. You'll navigate a scene in the Navigate maps and scenes quick-start tutorial.


    You can insert a new scene from the New Map drop-down menu on the Insert tab.

  2. On the ribbon, click the Map tab. In the Navigate group, click the Full Extent button Full Extent.

    The view zooms out to show the earth in space.

  3. In the Navigate group, click the Previous Extent button Previous Extent.

Explore the Catalog pane

The maps, scenes, layouts, geodatabases, and other items associated with your project are managed in the Catalog pane. The Catalog pane should already be open in your project. If not, you'll open it in the next step.

  1. If necessary, click the View tab on the ribbon. In the Windows group, click Catalog Pane Catalog Pane.
  2. At the top of the Catalog pane, confirm that the Project tab is selected. Click the small arrow next to the Maps folder to expand it.
    Catalog pane

    The folder contains the maps and scenes that belong to the project.

  3. Expand the other folders in the Catalog pane.

    Many other items belong to your project. There is a project toolbox for storing geoprocessing tools and a project geodatabase for storing spatial datasets. The Styles folder has default symbol styles. Under Folders, you see the NewZealand folder in which the project is stored. (This is the project's home folder.) The Locators folder contains your default locate providers.

  4. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Save button Save to save the project.

Now that you know how to create a project, you can begin to navigate maps and scenes.

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