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Geoprocessing in an edit session

You can run several geoprocessing tools that modify the input data in an edit session so that the changes to feature geometry or attributes are not permanent and can be undone.

Start editing

Several tools including Calculate Field, Integrate, Append, Snap, Align Features, and others have a check box next to the Run button on the tool dialog to Start Editing. If this option is checked, when you click Run, an edit session is started, tool processing is performed, and after completion, the edit session is remains active so you can undo the changes the tool made to the input data if necessary.


Geoprocessing tools that exclusively add or delete fields, or perform other schema changes, cannot be run in an edit session.

ArcGIS Pro automatically starts editing when you create or modify features or attributes, and there is no explicit way to start editing from the Edit ribbon tab. The Start Editing check box in the Geoprocessing pane is a shortcut specifically for use with geoprocessing tools that modify the input data.

Undo and redo

After the tool run in an edit session has completed, evaluate the results to determine if you want to keep the changes made to the input data. Use Undo and Redo on the Quick Access Toolbar to help evaluate and visualize the changes made to the data. If you do not want to keep the changes, click Undo to revert the changes made by the tool.

Save or discard changes

If you decide to keep the changes to the data made by the tool, you must click Edit > Manage Edits > Save to commit your edits. If you do not want to keep the changes, click Edit > Manage Edits > Discard to revert the edits.

Saving or discarding the edits closes the edit session started by running the geoprocessing tool.

Learn more about saving and discarding edits


If you do not save or discard your edits, other geoprocessing tools will be run in the open edit session, which can have unintended implications on performance and application behaviors. See the Considerations section below for more information.


When deciding to run geoprocessing tools in an edit session, the following should be considered.


When geoprocessing tools are run in an edit session, the tools are run in the main application thread. This means that the application will be blocked from other tasks while the tool is running.

Performance and scalability

When geoprocessing tools are run in an edit session, performance will decrease compared to when the same tool is run outside an edit session. Similarly, scalability will decrease, as fewer features can be processed in an edit session compared to outside an edit session.

Schema tools

Geoprocessing tools that add or delete fields such as Add Field, Alter Field, and Delete Field cannot be run in an edit session.

Deleting or overwriting datasets

Geoprocessing tools that delete or overwrite datasets in the workspace or geodatabase being edited cannot be run in an edit session. You also cannot delete datasets from these locations in the Catalog pane using the right-click Delete command.