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Introducing ArcGIS Pro

Tutorial summary

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  • Video length: 1:22
  • This video was created with ArcGIS Pro 2.0.

ArcGIS Pro is a ribbon-based application. Many commands are available from the ribbon at the top of the ArcGIS Pro window; more advanced or specialized functionality is found on panes (dockable windows) that can be opened as needed.

ArcGIS Pro allows you to store multiple data views—maps, layouts, tables, and charts—in a single project and keep them open at the same time. It also responds contextually to your work. Tabs on the ribbon change depending on the view and data you are working with.

In this tutorial, you'll explore the main components of the ArcGIS Pro user interface—the ribbon, views, and panes—and their interactions.

  • Estimated time: 25 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 .

Open the project

You'll explore an ArcGIS Pro project containing 2D and 3D maps of Wellington, New Zealand.

  1. Start ArcGIS Pro. If necessary, type your user name and password on the ArcGIS Sign In screen and click Sign in.

    If you have a Named User license, you must sign in to use ArcGIS Pro. If you are already signed in, your user name will appear in the upper right corner of the ArcGIS Pro window.

    If you have a Single Use or Concurrent Use license, you don't need to sign in to use ArcGIS Pro as a desktop-only application. However, you do need to sign in with ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise credentials to share content to your portal or to access content from a portal. For example, you need to sign in to open the project package for this tutorial.

    If you have no recent projects—for example, if this is your first project—you'll see templates for creating new projects arranged horizontally on the start page.

    ArcGIS Pro start page

    If you have recent projects, you'll see them arranged horizontally. The templates for new projects will be arranged vertically on the right side of the page.

    ArcGIS Pro start page
  2. Click Open an existing project or Open another project, according to the option shown on your start page.

    The Open project page opens. The blue column on the left has tabs for opening and saving projects as well as many other options. The Open tab is selected. Next to this column, under the Open heading, you can choose to open recent projects, projects on your computer, or projects stored in a portal, such as your ArcGIS Online organization.

  3. Under the Open heading, click Portal. Click Browse Browse.
    Open project page
  4. On the Open Project dialog box, under Portal Portal, click All Portal All Portal.
  5. At the top of the dialog box, in the Search box, type Introducing ArcGIS Pro tutorial and press Enter.
  6. In the list of search results, click Introducing ArcGIS Pro to select the project package.

    If there is more than one project package with this name, make sure to select the correct one. In the upper right corner of the Open Project dialog box, click the Show/hide details panel button Show/hide details panel. The owner should be ArcGISProTutorials.

  7. Click OK.

    When the project opens, you see a map of Wellington, New Zealand. The window containing the map is a map view. The colored tab at the top of the map view tells you that the view is active. The name of the view is Wellington City.

    There are three other open views in the project: the Central Wellington map view Map View, the Central Wellington_3D local scene view Local, and the Central Wellington Layout layout view Layout.

    ArcGIS Pro user interface

    The project is stored in your <user documents>\ArcGIS\Packages folder.

Use tools on the ribbon

Above the map view is the ribbon. The ribbon has a set of core tabs—Map, Insert, Analysis, View, Edit, Imagery, and Share—that are always present when a map view is active. Each tab has its own set of tools, organized in groups. The Map tab has tools for interacting with the map. On the Map tab, the Explore tool Explore Tool is selected in the Navigate group.

To get started, you'll use a couple of tools in the Navigate group. The Explore tool Explore Tool allows you to move around the map as well as to get information about map features of interest.

ArcGIS Pro ribbon

  1. With the Explore tool Explore Tool selected on the ribbon, drag the map to a different location.

    If you venture too far, it may be hard to find your way back. That's okay—a bookmark will return you to your starting place.


    You can roam around the map by holding the Q key on the keyboard and moving the mouse pointer in the direction you want to go. Hold Q+Shift to decrease the roam speed; hold Q+Ctrl to increase the speed.

  2. On the ribbon, on the Map tab, in the Navigate group, click Bookmarks Bookmarks. Under Wellington City Bookmarks, click Wellington.

    The map returns to its original extent. If you don't know much about Wellington, clicking the map feature will give you some information.

  3. On the map, click inside the city boundary for Wellington.
    Pop-up with information about Wellington

    The city boundary flashes and a pop-up opens with information about the city's population.

  4. Close the pop-up.

    Besides the map view and the ribbon, you may see a Contents pane, a Catalog pane, or both. Panes are windows that help you manage views and projects, or that give you access to specific functionality. The Contents pane lists items in the active view, such as layers in a map view or layout elements in a layout view. The Catalog pane lists items saved or associated with the project, such as databases, toolboxes, and folder connections. The Catalog pane also provides access to portal items, such as web layers.

    Catalog pane and Contents pane

    It's okay if you don't see these two panes, or if you see other panes. Pane states are independent of the project. If you closed a pane in your last ArcGIS Pro session, it will still be closed when you start a new session, no matter which project you open. If you arranged your panes in a certain way in your last session, they will still be arranged that way now.

    To learn more about ribbons, views, and panes, see About ArcGIS Pro.

Open and dock panes

As you work, you'll often open and close panes that you need for specific tasks. You may also want to reposition panes or minimize them to make room for maps and other views.

  1. Close any open panes, such as the Contents pane and the Catalog pane.

    Most of your application window is now given to the active view. However, it's usually helpful to have the Contents and Catalog panes open in the project.

  2. On the ribbon, click the View tab. In the Windows group, click Contents Contents.

    The Contents pane opens.

  3. On the View tab, in the Windows group, click Catalog Pane Catalog Pane.

    The Catalog pane opens. The two panes appear in the positions they occupied before you closed them. They may be docked on opposite sides of the ArcGIS Pro window, or one may be stacked on top of the other. If the panes are stacked, they will have tabs at the bottom that allow you to switch from one to the other.

    Contents and Catalog panes in a stacked arrangement

  4. Drag the Catalog pane by its title bar over the map view.
    Docking targets

    As you drag the pane—represented by a blue shadow—docking targets appear in the center of the map view and along its edges. Each target represents an area of the screen where the pane can be positioned.

  5. Hover over a docking target.

    You can see where the pane will be docked if you drop it on that target.


    Side targets are better than top and bottom targets because the panes are vertically oriented.

  6. Drop the pane on a target.

    The pane displays in its new position. If your Catalog and Contents panes were stacked before, they remain stacked and move together.

  7. Drag the Catalog pane away from its new position and drop it anywhere over the ArcGIS Pro window that is not a docking target.

    The pane floats. You can resize it by dragging a corner or a side of the pane.

  8. If the Catalog and Contents panes are stacked, click the Catalog tab at the bottom of the Catalog pane and drag the pane by this tab to a new location

    The panes are now separated.

  9. Arrange the two panes however you like. If you want to stack them, drag one pane over the other and drop it on the center docking target that appears.
    Center docking target

    By default, panes stay open as you work. You can autohide a pane so it doesn't take up space when you are not using it.

  10. If necessary, click the Contents pane to make it active. In the upper right corner of the pane, click the Auto-Hide button Auto Hide.
    Contents pane in autohide state

    The pane is hidden along the edge of the ArcGIS Pro window in the area where the pane is docked. If your panes are stacked, both are hidden.

  11. Click the hidden Contents pane to restore it.

    The pane stays open as long as you continue to work with it. When you make a view active or a different pane active, the Contents pane will hide again.

  12. Click the Auto-Hide button Auto Hide again to pin the pane open.

    You can make more room for a view by clicking the Minimize the Ribbon button Minimize the Ribbon in the upper right corner of the ArcGIS Pro window. When the ribbon is minimized, you see only the tab names until you click a tab to begin working with its tools. You can also customize the ribbon to suit your work.

Explore views

The Wellington City map is one of four open views in the project. An ArcGIS Pro project can contain multiple maps, scenes (3D maps), and map layouts, as well as other views, such as tables and charts. Several maps can be open at the same time.

  1. Click the Central Wellington map view tab to make the view active.
    Central Wellington map view

    The map shows buildings in the central business district around Lambton Harbour.

  2. In the Contents pane, click the small gray arrow next to the Buildings layer to expand the layer.

    The yellow and orange colors indicate the amount of solar radiation the buildings receive.

  3. Make the Central Wellington_3D view active.
    3D view of Central Wellington

    The same buildings are shown in a scene.

  4. On the ribbon, click the Map tab if necessary.
  5. In the Navigate group, click Bookmarks Bookmarks. Under Central Wellington_3D Bookmarks, click Jervois Quay.

    You see the buildings from a different perspective.

  6. Go to the View from Lambton Harbour bookmark to view the scene from another perspective.
  7. Make the Central Wellington Layout view active.
    Map layout

    The ribbon changes to show tabs and tools for working with layouts. The Map tab has been replaced by a Layout tab. The Edit tab is gone.

    The Contents pane lists the elements in the layout: its legend, map frames, text, and so on. They are listed in their top-to-bottom drawing order.

    Contents pane for layout view

    You can use the icons at the top of the Contents pane to organize these layout elements in different ways. It might be easier to find and work with specific elements if they were grouped by type.

  8. In the Contents pane, click the List By Element Type tab.
    List By Element Type

    The layout elements are now grouped by type instead of drawing order, making it easier to find the element you want to work with.

  9. On the Central Wellington Layout view tab, close the layout view.

    The view has been closed but still belongs to the project.

  10. In the Catalog pane, with the Project tab selected at the top of the pane, expand Layouts.
    Catalog pane
  11. Right-click Central Wellington Layout and click Open Open.

    The layout view opens. To learn how to make a map layout like this one, try the Make a layout tutorial.

  12. In the Catalog pane, expand Maps.

    The maps and scenes in the project are listed. You can open map views from the Catalog pane in the same way as layout views. Some other types of views, such as charts, are managed from the Contents pane.


    To remove a map or layout permanently from a project, right-click the item on the Catalog pane and click Delete Delete.

Work with contextual tabs

You have seen that the tabs on the ribbon change depending on the active view. Within a view, different contextual tabs become available depending on the layer or data you are working with.

  1. Make the Central Wellington view active.
  2. In the Contents pane, click the Buildings layer to select it.
    Contents pane with Buildings layer selected

    The selected layer is highlighted in blue. Once it is selected, a Feature Layer contextual tab appears on the ribbon. Under it are three tabs with tools specific to feature layers.

    Feature Layer contextual tab
  3. In the Contents pane, click Central Wellington, the name of the map.
    Contents pane with map item selected

    The Feature Layer contextual tab goes away because no feature layer is selected.

  4. In the Contents pane, click the Parks layer to select it.
  5. On the ribbon, under Feature Layer, click the Data tab.

    The Data tab has tools for working with the attributes of the selected feature layer.

  6. On the Data tab, in the Table group, click Attribute Table Open Table.
    Attribute table for Parks layer

    A table view opens with the Parks layer attributes. Each park has a name and address. On the ribbon, the Feature Layer contextual tab is still present. In addition, the Table contextual tab appears. It has a View tab with tools for working with table views.

  7. On the ribbon, under Table, click the View tab.

    The tab has tools for adding and deleting fields, changing field properties, calculating table values, and more. However, you don't need to make any changes to the Parks table.

  8. Close the Parks table view.

    The Table contextual tab is removed from the ribbon.

  9. On the ribbon, under Feature Layer, click Appearance.

    On the Appearance tab, you can set a visibility range for a layer, adjust its transparency, and choose a symbology method. When you choose a symbology method, a new pane will open.

  10. On the Appearance tab, in the Drawing group, click Symbology Symbology. (Click the button, not the drop-down arrow.)
    Symbology pane

    The Symbology pane opens. If your Symbology pane looks different from the image shown above, click the Back button Back to return the pane to this state.


    Some panes and views can be opened either from the ribbon or from a context menu. For example, you can open the Symbology pane by right-clicking a layer in the Contents pane and choosing Symbology Symbology.

  11. In the Symbology pane, next to Symbol, click the green symbol patch.

    The pane presents options for formatting polygon symbols. At the top of the pane are a Gallery tab and a Properties tab. On the Gallery tab, you can choose a predefined symbol. On the Properties tab, you can modify symbol properties, such as color and outline width.

  12. Click the Gallery tab if necessary. In the list of symbols, click Park. (You may need to scroll down a little.)
    Park symbol in the Gallery

    In the map view, the parks are drawn with the new lighter green symbol. It looks good, but you might prefer the original symbol.

    Above the ribbon, the Quick Access Toolbar has buttons to create, open, and save projects, and to undo and redo actions.

    Quick Access Toolbar
  13. On the Quick Access Toolbar, click the Undo Undo button.

    The original green symbol for parks is restored.

  14. Close the Symbology pane.
  15. On the ribbon, click the blue Project tab.

    You come back to the project page.

  16. In the list of tabs on the left, click Save to save the project.

    The project is saved and returns to the map view so you can continue working.


    You can also save the project by clicking the Save button Save on the Quick Access Toolbar.

Switch to dark theme

Optionally, you can switch to dark theme, which gives ArcGIS Pro a different look.

  1. On the ribbon, click the Project tab.
  2. In the list of tabs, click Options.
  3. On the Options dialog box, under Application, click the General tab. At the bottom of the dialog box, under Personalize, set the Theme to Dark and click OK.
  4. Close and restart ArcGIS Pro.

    The application opens in dark theme.

  5. On the start page, under Open a recent project, click Introducing_ArcGIS_Pro to reopen the project.
  6. Make the Wellington City map view active and continue exploring the project on your own.
    ArcGIS Pro with Dark theme setting

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