Run a model

After building a model and checking that all processes are valid, your model is ready to run. You can run a model step-by-step or in its entirety from within ModelBuilder or as a geoprocessing tool from the Geoprocessing pane.

Run a model in ModelBuilder

Running a model in ModelBuilder means that you open the model for editing and run it within the ModelBuilder window. You can run a single tool, a sequence of tools, or run the entire model.

  • Run a single tool—Running a single tool allows you to run step-by-step through the model. Select one tool, right-click, and select Run. The model will run all processes up to the selected tool (earlier processes in the chain also run; later processes in the chain do not run).
  • Run the entire model—When you click the Run button Run in the ModelBuilder > Run ribbon tab, all ready to run tools execute in sequence. If some tools have already been run, they are not re-executed; the model will begin executing from the first tool that has not yet been run.

    Alternatively, you can right-click anywhere in the model and select Run.

Model running

If you attempt to run an individual model process that is not ready to run (gray), a warning message will display that the process is not ready to run. If you attempt to run the entire model and it contains processes that are not ready to run (gray), any ready-to-run processes will run in sequence and processes that are not ready will not run.

The tools turn red when the process is running and turn back to yellow with a drop shadow after it has successfully executed. The tool remains red if it fails. To view error messages, right-click the tool that failed and select Messages....


When running the model from within ModelBuilder, you can add output datasets created by your model to a map. Right-click any data variable you wish to add to a map and select Add To Display. If the tool has already been run, the data will be added to a map. If the tool has not yet been run, the data will be added to a map after the tool runs.


Tools run from inside ModelBuilder are not saved in your project's geoprocessing history.

Run a model as a geoprocessing tool

Models are saved as geoprocessing tools in a toolbox. Like any other geoprocessing tool, you can open and run a model tool in the Geoprocessing pane. Locate the toolbox where the model is saved and double-click or right-click and select Open to open the tool in the Geoprocessing pane.

Variables that are set as model parameters in ModelBuilder will display on the tool for you to specify input and output datasets and values. The tool parameter label is the same as the name of the model variable, and the default value in the parameter is the value of the model variable. The order of the tool parameters as well as parameter properties such as filters, dependencies, and parameter categories can be controlled in model properties.


After the model tool runs successfully, only model outputs set as model parameter are added to the map.


An entry for the model tool will be added to geoprocessing history. The individual tools run within the model tool are not added to the geoprocessing history.

Learn more about running geoprocessing tools