A key aspect of working with ArcGIS is documenting the content and project items you create and use—your maps, projects, geoprocessing models, geodatabase datasets, and so on. Information that describes items is known as metadata. Metadata is saved with the item it describes—in the geodatabase for geodatabase items, in the project for project items, on the file system for file-based items, and so on. Once created, metadata is copied, moved, and deleted with the item when it is managed by ArcGIS.
You can record whatever information is important for your organization to know about an item in its metadata. When care is taken to provide good descriptive information, you can find items with a search and evaluate which item in your search results is the correct one to use. You can improve communication and have confidence in decisions based on an item's geospatial information. You can archive projects knowing they can be recovered, used, and evaluated in the future.
By default, ArcGIS Pro allows you to view and edit a small portion of the metadata that provides essential information about an item. This set of information is straightforward and effective, suitable for anyone who doesn't need to adhere to a specific metadata standard. It has the following features:
- It fits on one page.
- It allows you to provide the information used by the ArcGIS platform.
- It is indexed and available for searching.
- It is published with the item to ArcGIS Online or your organization's portal.
While ArcGIS Pro is set to use the Item Description metadata style by default, other metadata styles are available that provide access to more of an item's metadata content. Metadata specialists and others who want to view and edit more information should choose a different metadata style.
Metadata is available in the Catalog pane and the catalog view to help you learn about an item and decide if you want to use it. Its content is updated automatically when you look at it in the catalog view's details panel; metadata is created for the item if it doesn't already exist. ArcGIS extracts the item's properties and records appropriate information in its metadata. For example, the extent and count of a feature class's features are current when you look at its metadata, even if new features were recently added. This process is known as synchronization—values in the metadata are being synchronized with the properties of the item.
View content in the pop-up
Hover over an item in the Catalog pane. A pop-up shows the item's descriptive title and any tags that were provided for the item.
View content on the Properties dialog box
You can see metadata describing a map or a layer in a map using its Properties dialog box; it's available from the Contents pane.
- Open a map.
- In the Contents pane, right-click the map or select one or more layers in the map and right-click the selected layers.
- Click Properties.
The Properties dialog box appears.
- Click the Metadata tab.
The metadata content associated with the Item Description metadata style appears on the tab.
View content in the catalog view
You can see the item's metadata content in the catalog view's details panel. To see more or less information, choose a different metadata style.
- On the View tab, in the Windows group, click the Catalog drop-down arrow, and click Catalog View. The catalog view appears in addition to the Catalog pane. You may want to hide the Catalog pane while you work in the catalog view.
- If the details panel is not open, on the Home tab on the ribbon, in the Options group, check Show Details.
The details panel appears.
- Browse to an item using the catalog view's Location control or the quick links provided in the Contents pane.
- Click an item in the catalog view.
The item's metadata appears in the details panel.
You can edit an item's metadata if you have permission to do so. For items on the file system, you can only edit metadata if you have write access to the location where the item is stored. For items in a geodatabase, you can only edit metadata if you have privileges to edit the data. For an enterprise geodatabase, metadata is only supported for the default version of the geodatabase; individual transactional or historical versions can't have version-specific metadata content. For portal items, you can only edit metadata for items you own.
It may take some time to complete an item's metadata. You can save your changes and stop editing at any time and come back later to finish your work, even if required information is missing. If you save and close your project with a metadata view open, you can start editing metadata again immediately the next time the project is opened as long as the item remains available and your privileges associated with it haven't changed. The metadata view will open to the same page you worked on before.
Several metadata views can be open at the same time. If you lose track of which metadata view is associated with which item, hover over the name of the item at the top of the Contents pane; a pop-up will show the item's type and location.
Edit content on the Properties dialog box
You can edit metadata describing a map or a layer in a map using its Properties dialog box. If many layers are selected, the changes are applied to all selected layers.
- View metadata for the map or layer whose metadata you want to edit on its Properties dialog box.
- Describe the items.
- Click OK.
Metadata updates are not permanent until the project has been saved. Metadata for project items is stored within the project.
Edit content in the metadata view
- Click the item whose metadata you want to edit in the catalog view.
- On the Home tab on the ribbon, in the Metadata group, click Edit.The metadata view appears. The pages available for editing metadata are listed in the Contents pane. You may want to hide other panes while you edit metadata.
- Describe the item using the available pages.
- On the Metadata tab on the ribbon, click the appropriate button to save your changes.
- For maps, layouts, and other items stored within the project, click Apply, and then save the project. All changes made since the last save will be persisted, including your metadata edits.
- For datasets, files, tools, and other items referenced by the project, click Save.
You can preview the changes you've made by viewing the item's metadata in the catalog view.
- When you are finished editing the item's metadata, close the metadata view.
Choose a metadata style
Each item is associated with an ArcGIS metadata document. A metadata style provides access to a set of elements in that ArcGIS metadata document, a set of rules regarding which of those elements must be provided, and a stylesheet for displaying their content.
The default metadata style supports providing the information used by the ArcGIS platform. Other metadata styles are associated with metadata standards and allow you to view and edit full metadata. Each metadata style has different rules about what information must be provided to assist you in creating metadata that complies with the associated standard. Choose the appropriate metadata style to satisfy your organization's requirements.
- Open the Options dialog box.
- If a project is currently open, click the Project tab and click Options.
- Start ArcGIS Pro, and click About ArcGIS Pro at the bottom of the start page.
The Options dialog box appears.
- Click the Metadata tab on the Options dialog box.
- Click the Metadata style drop-down arrow, and click the style of metadata you want to use.
The Metadata style drop-down list will be unavailable if you are currently editing metadata for an item. Close all metadata views, and then change your Metadata style.
- Click OK.
- Click the Back button to return to or open your project.
If an item's metadata was viewed in the catalog view before changing the metadata style, the details panel won't automatically update to reflect the new metadata style. Click another item in the catalog view's list to see the change.