Layer To KML (Conversion)


Converts a feature or raster layer into a KML file containing a translation of Esri geometries and symbology. This file is compressed using ZIP compression, has a .kmz extension, and can be read by any KML client including ArcGIS Earth, ArcGlobe, and Google Earth.

Learn more about KML support in ArcGIS


  • You can control the appearance of KML in the following two ways:

    • By default, the pop-up display is composed of all visible fields from the layer. Pop-up displays can also be set using the layer's customized pop-ups. If the layer pop-ups have not been customized, the values in the feature layer's PopupInfo field are shown in the pop-up when a KML feature is clicked. These values can be numeric or text attributes as well as HTML code stored in a text field.
    • When the layer properties are not set and the feature class contains certain attributes (fields), the field properties are used in creating the KML layers that were originally created using the KML To Layer tool including attributes that define how KML is created. See KML conversion for more information about creating KML from attributes.

  • You can reduce the size of the output KMZ document if your layer has scale-dependent display properties and you choose an appropriate map output scale.

  • All KML and KMZ files are created in the WGS84 coordinate system. Be sure your layers will properly project if they aren't already in WGS84. You can use the Project tool to reproject your data prior to KML conversion if your projection requires a transformation.

  • To output a single raster image draped over topography, use the Return single composite image parameter.

  • Input features with attachments will be included in the output .kmz file. Be aware of the following conditions for attachments inside .kmz files:

    • Attachments can dramatically increase the output file size.
    • When consuming the KML file in a KML client, attachments are available from the KML pop-up.
    • Attachments can be excluded by disabling the Maintain Attachments environment setting prior to running the tool.
    • Not all KML clients support displaying attachments equally. Some KML client applications have better support for attachments such as images and PDF documents.

  • The Layer Output Scale and Size of returned image (pixels) parameters are used together to create tiled output. For example, for an image with a size of 7000 by 5000 pixels, and a Size of returned image (pixels) parameter value of 1000 pixels, the output image will be composed of 7 x 5, or 35, subimages. If the Layer Output Scale parameter value is set to 1, each subimage will be 1000 by 1000 pixels. If the Layer Output Scale parameter value is set to 10, each subimage will be 100 by 100 pixels.


arcpy.conversion.LayerToKML(layer, out_kmz_file, {layer_output_scale}, {is_composite}, {boundary_box_extent}, {image_size}, {dpi_of_client}, {ignore_zvalue})
ParameterExplanationData Type

The feature or raster layer or layer file (.lyrx) to be converted to KML.

Feature Layer; Raster Layer; Mosaic Layer; Group Layer; Layer File

The output KML file. This file is compressed and has a .kmz extension. It can be read by any KML client including ArcGIS Earth, ArcGlobe, and Google Earth.


For raster layers, a value of 0 can be used to create one untiled output image. If a value greater than or equal to 1 is used, it will determine the output resolution of the raster. This parameter has no effect on layers that are not raster layers.


Specifies whether the output will be a single composite image. If your layer is a raster, you can choose either option for this parameter without any visual difference.

  • COMPOSITEThe output KML file will be a single composite image representing the raster or vector features in the source layer. The raster is draped over the terrain as a KML GroundOverlay. Use this option to reduce the size of the output KMZ file. When this option is used, individual features and layers in the KML will not be selectable.
  • NO_COMPOSITEIf your layer has vector features, they will be preserved as KML vectors.

The geographic extent of the area to be exported. Specify the extent rectangle bounds as a space-delimited string of WGS84 geographic coordinates in the form lower left and upper right (xmin, ymin, xmax, ymax).

  • MAXOF—The maximum extent of all inputs will be used.
  • MINOF—The minimum area common to all inputs will be used.
  • DISPLAY—The extent is equal to the visible display.
  • Layer name—The extent of the specified layer will be used.
  • Extent object—The extent of the specified object will be used.
  • Space delimited string of coordinates—The extent of the specified string will be used. Coordinates are expressed in the order of x-min, y-min, x-max, y-max.

The size of the tiles for raster layers if the layer_output_scale parameter value is set to a value greater than or equal to 1. This parameter has no effect on layers that are not raster layers.


The device resolution for KML output when the is_composite parameter is set to COMPOSITE. This parameter is used with the image_size parameter to control output image resolution.

This parameter does not provide the ability to resample source rasters. Any input rasters will have a snapshot taken and included in the KML output as a simple .png image.


Specifies whether to override the z-values of the input features.

  • ABSOLUTEThe z-values of the features will be respected. The features will be drawn inside KML clients relative to sea level.
  • CLAMPED_TO_GROUNDThe z-values of the features will be overridden and draped over the terrain. This setting is used for features that do not have z-values. This is the default.

Code sample

LayerToKML example 1 (Python window)

The following Python window script demonstrates how to use the LayerToKML function in immediate mode.

import arcpy

# "buildings" represents a layer in your map
arcpy.LayerToKML_conversion("buildings", "c:/outputKMZs/bldg.kmz")
LayerToKML example 2 (stand-alone script)

The following Python script demonstrates how to use the LayerToKML function in a stand-alone script.

# Description: The following stand-alone script demonstrates how to find 
#              all layer files in a given workspace and export each to 
#              a KML at the 1:10,000, 1:20,000, and 1:30,000 scale using
#              the LayerToKML tool.
import arcpy

arcpy.env.workspace = "C:/data"

# Set Local Variables
composite = 'NO_COMPOSITE'
pixels = 2048
dpi = 96

# Use the ListFiles method to identify all lyr and lyrx files in workspace
layers = arcpy.ListFiles("*.lyr*") 

if len(layers) > 0:
    for layer in layers:        
        # Strips the '.lyr(x)' part of the name and appends '.kmz'
        outKML = os.path.join(os.path.splitext(layer), ".kmz")
        for scale in range(10000, 30001, 10000):
            # Execute LayerToKML
            arcpy.LayerToKML_conversion(layer, outKML, scale, composite, 
                                        '', pixels, dpi, clamped)
    arcpy.AddMessage('There are no layer files in {}'.format(arcpy.env.workspace))

Licensing information

  • Basic: Yes
  • Standard: Yes
  • Advanced: Yes

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