A spatial bookmark identifies a specific geographic location (in 2D or 3D) that you want to save and refer to later. This could be a particular study area you frequently work with. As you navigate around your view, you can return to the study area's spatial extent by accessing the bookmark. You can also use bookmarks to highlight areas in the view that you want others to see.

Although bookmarks are spatial, providing a navigation shortcut to a position on a map, they can also store and use other layer properties, including time- or range-enabled settings. This means you can create a spatial bookmark for a specific point in time, such as a hurricane's location on a particular day, or create a bookmark for a specific range value, such as the second floor of a building.

To access bookmarks and bookmark settings, on the Map tab, in the Navigate group, click Bookmarks Bookmarks.

Use the Bookmarks drop-down menu on the Map tab to do the following:

  • Create bookmarks.
  • Navigate with bookmarks.
  • Open the Bookmarks pane.
  • Export bookmarks from the current map or scene.
  • Import bookmarks from a file.
  • Set bookmarks to ignore time components from any temporal bookmarks.
  • Set bookmarks to ignore range components from any range-aware bookmarks.
  • Set all bookmarks to display a description if it exists.

To manage and organize your bookmarks, use the Bookmarks pane.

Create a bookmark

To create a bookmark, complete the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the location or perspective you want to bookmark.
  2. On the Map tab, in the Navigate group, click Bookmarks Bookmarks and click New Bookmark New Bookmark.

    If the Bookmarks pane is open, you can optionally use it to create bookmarks. Click Manage Bookmarks Manage Bookmarks to open the docked pane.

  3. In the window that appears, type a name for the bookmark, optionally provide a description, and click OK.

To confirm that the bookmark was created, click the Bookmarks drop-down menu Bookmarks to verify the bookmark was added to the list.

Navigate with bookmarks

When using a bookmark to navigate, only the active map view updates. To navigate multiple views together using bookmarks, ensure they are linked. You can access bookmarks in two ways for navigation:

  • Use the Bookmarks quick-access gallery on the Map tab—Click the bookmark to navigate, and the view will immediately update.
  • Use the Bookmarks pane—Hover over the bookmark. Click Zoom To Zoom To to center and zoom in on the exact bookmark location. Click Pan To Pan To to center the view on the bookmark location without changing the scale.

The quick-access gallery lists all bookmarks in the project grouped by their associated map. If only the bookmarks from a single map are desired, click the drop-down arrow in the upper left corner of the gallery to select a single map. By default, only the title and a thumbnail preview are visible. Descriptions can be included in the gallery by enabling the Show Descriptions option.


If you're switching between 2D and 3D views, the extent may differ from the original view in which the bookmark was captured. For instance, bookmarks created in 3D but viewed in 2D will have a 2D extent derived from the original 3D view. If the bookmark was created in 2D but viewed in 3D, the scene view will display perpendicular.


To adjust the speed at which the navigation experience updates the view, set the Navigation Autopilot Speed to be instant or a slower, graceful transition. Open the Options dialog box from the Project tab and click the Navigation tab. Move the slider to adjust the zoom time. The higher the value in seconds, the longer it will take to get to your bookmark.

Open the bookmarks pane

The Bookmarks pane lists the bookmarks by map for the current project, with the active view's bookmarks on top. Any bookmark in your current project can be managed using the Bookmarks pane without an active map or scene view. To open the Bookmarks pane, on the Map tab, in the Navigate group, click Bookmarks and click Manage Bookmarks.

Export bookmarks from the current map or scene

Bookmarks can be shared between projects as a bookmark file (.bkmx). Export bookmarks from the Bookmarks quick-access gallery to export all bookmarks for the active map. To export a selected subset, use the Bookmarks pane.

Import bookmarks from a file

Bookmarks that have been saved as a bookmark file (.bkmx) can be imported into the current map or scene using these steps:

  1. On the Map tab, in the Navigate group, click Bookmarks Bookmarks and click Import Bookmarks Import Bookmarks.

    If the Bookmarks pane is open, you can optionally use it to import bookmarks. Click Manage Bookmarks Manage Bookmarks to open the Bookmarks pane.

  2. In the window that appears, browse to and select the bookmark file to import.

    You can also import bookmark files (.dat file extension) from ArcGIS Desktop.

  3. Click OK.

The bookmarks are appended to the current map or scene. Bookmarks imported from .dat files do not include a thumbnail.

Navigate a bookmark without updating time or range settings

If you need to use a bookmark without returning to the time that was captured or the range value stored, you can disable these properties by checking the Ignore Time and Ignore Range options. When these options are checked, the bookmark updates the camera location without changing the current time or range slider settings.

To learn more about how time and range behave with bookmarks, see Time and range in bookmarks.

Set all bookmarks to display a description if it exists

You can provide optional descriptive text to your bookmarks. These are useful to provide details about how and why the bookmarks were created. Check Show Descriptions for descriptions to appear when you view the bookmark gallery. Extra space is provided to show the text. The optional description has a maximum of 500 characters. You can use bold, italic, and underline formatting, and hyperlinks. Be aware that hyperlinks require additional characters.

Use bookmarks to automatically generate an animation

You can import the current map's bookmarks into an animation, and these bookmarks are converted directly to keyframes used to build an animation. On the View tab, click Add Add Animation to open the Animation tab and access the animation settings. In the Create group, click Import and choose Bookmarks to fly-through or Bookmarks to tour. These options use predefined settings for the path between the keyframes created from your bookmarks for that map.

To learn more about visualizing GIS content as an animation, see Animation basics.

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