Skip To Content

Layer package

A layer can be saved with its data as a layer package (.lpkx). A layer package includes both the layer properties and the dataset referenced by the layer. With a layer package, you can save and share everything about the layer—its symbology, labeling, field properties, and associated data.

Share a layer package

Other users will be able to add layer packages directly into their maps without having to know how to access the database or classify the data. While a layer package will be larger in size than a layer file because it includes the data, other users will not need to worry about access to your data sources.

Additionally, a layer can be saved as a schema-only layer package. This type of package allows you to share your layer design and the corresponding data model design without sharing your data. When you unpack a schema-only layer package, the data model for the layers will be loaded into the project's default geodatabase. You can then load your own datasets for the layers in that geodatabase.


For a finer degree of control over how data is packaged, you can use the Package Layer geoprocessing tool. For example, you can specify that only data within the current map extent is packaged.

Create a layer package

  1. Select the layers you want to package in the Contents pane.
  2. In the Package group on the Share tab, click New Layer Package New layer package. Alternatively, you can right-click the selected layers and click Share As Layer Package New layer package. The Package Layers pane appears.
  3. Specify where to save your package, either to your online account or as a file on disk.
  4. Provide the name and, if saving the package to a file, the location for your new package on disk.
  5. Complete the Summary and Tags fields.
  6. Use the Include Enterprise and UNC Path Data option if you want to extract data from an enterprise geodatabase, or UNC path data to a file geodatabase. If this option is not checked, map layers continue to reference enterprise geodatabase data and UNC path data.
  7. If you are uploading your package to an online account, specify how it will be shared:
    • My Content—This option only references content in your personal workspace named My Content. Your content is inaccessible to other users.
    • My Organization—If you are signed in with an organizational account, you see this option. This option allows your content to be shared with all authenticated users in the organization.
    • Everyone—This option makes your content public. Anyone can access and see it.
    • Groups—You can share your content with groups you belong to and their members.
  8. Add the Attachments you want to include. This option allows you to include other content, such as detailed documentation, reports, and graphs. The following types of files cannot be included: .js, .vbs, .py, .pyc, .pyo, .bat, and .ocx. Also, only signed .dll files and .exe files are allowed. Learn more about signing .dll and .exe files
  9. Click Analyze to check for any errors or issues. You must resolve all errors. If any issues are discovered, they appear on the Messages tab. Right-click each message to get more information, read the help for the error or warning, and access suggested fixes. Learn more about analyzing GIS resources
  10. Once it is validated, click Package to create your package.

Create a schema-only layer package

The Package Schema Only option allows you to share a layer without its data.

The steps for creating a schema-only layer package are the same as the steps outlined above for saving a layer data package, except you choose the Package Schema Only option to create a schema-only layer package.

See Add an existing layer to learn how to unpack your layer package.