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About ArcGIS Pro

ArcGIS Pro is the premier professional desktop GIS application from Esri. With ArcGIS Pro, you can visualize, edit, and analyze your geographic data in both 2D and 3D. After you create projects, maps, layers, tools, and more, ArcGIS Pro has several options for sharing your work with others.

ArcGIS Pro terminology

Basemap Basemap: The project item that is often displayed under other content to provide a geographic context to the map's operational layers.

Geoprocessing Toolbox: A framework and set of tools for processing geographic and related data. Geoprocessing tools can be used to perform spatial analysis and manage GIS data efficiently.

Layer Layer: A representation of spatial data in a map or scene.

Layout Layout: An arrangement of one or more maps and supporting elements such as a title, legend, and text. A layout is typically shared as a printed map, poster, or PDF.

Map Map View: A project item used to display and work with geographic data in two dimensions.

Portal All Portal: A portal is a connection to ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise. In ArcGIS Pro, you sign in to a portal to share your work and use content shared by others.

Preset layers Add Preset Layer: A prebuilt layer embedded in ArcGIS Pro that only requires a data source.

Project Open Project: A collection of related geographic datasets, maps, layouts, tools, settings, and resources saved in an .aprx file. Projects can reference and include items from your organization's portal or your saved network files.

Scene 3D Scene View: A project item used to display and work with geographic data in 3D. Scenes can be viewed in global view (suitable for maps with large geographic areas) or local view (suitable for maps with small geographic areas).

Task New Task: A set of preconfigured steps that guide you through a workflow. Task items are also project items.

View View: The window representing the primary work area of the application. You can have multiple views open at the same time and display them side by side.

The ArcGIS Pro user interface

The ribbon

ArcGIS Pro uses a horizontal ribbon across the top of the application window to display and organize functionality into a series of tabs.

There are two types of tabs: core tabs, which are always visible, and contextual tabs, which appear and disappear as needed. The Project, Insert, Analysis, View, and Share tabs are core tabs. Depending on the active view, an additional Map or Layout tab will appear.

Tabs contain groups of related commands that are also contextual, which means that only the tools that are relevant to your task will be displayed.

Ribbon and tabs

The Quick Access Toolbar above the ribbon has buttons to save and open, or undo and redo changes to your project.

Quick Access Toolbar

You can customize the ribbon, group tools you use most often, add or remove tools from the ribbon, or add tools to the Quick Access Toolbar.

To add a tool to the Quick Access Toolbar, right-click on a button on the ribbon and click Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

Add a tool to the Quick Access Toolbar


A view is a window that represents the primary work area of the application and provides a visualization of your data. For example, a view can be a map, scene, table, layout, or chart. You can have multiple views open at the same time. Only one view is active at any given time. However, the work you do in one view may affect the visualization of data in another view. For example, when you select data in a chart view, the selected data's features are highlighted in a map view.

Map view and active view indicator


A pane is a dockable window that contains commands and settings in addition to those available on the ribbon. Common panes are the Contents pane (a list of your map contents), the Catalog pane (an inventory of items in your project and commands to manage them), and the Geoprocessing pane (a list of geoprocessing toolboxes installed with ArcGIS Pro).

Contents and Catalog panes

You can find more commands and items within panes by using various controls.

Symbology pane highlighting pane controls


Menu button: Click the three horizontal lines to find a menu that contains additional commands.


Primary Navigation Tab: Within panes, you can click the titles, divided by a vertical separator (|) to navigate between different sets of related options.


Secondary Navigation Tab: Within panes, you can click the icons near the top of panes to find more options or see different views of items.


Expander: Click the small arrow next to headings on panes to show or hide options. When the arrow is pointing down, the section is expanded. When the arrow is pointing right, the section is collapsed.


Grab handle: Any time you see three dots (an ellipse), either vertical or horizontal on panes, you can click and drag the ellipse to resize an area of the pane.

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